Puanga Matariki

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Nau mai, haere mai ki te whakanui i a Puanga rāua ko Matariki! 

With the appearance of Puanga and the Matariki star cluster, the Māori New Year dawns, beckoning us to reflect on those who have passed and prepare for the year ahead, as we transition into the cooler months.

Since 2022, Aotearoa New Zealand has commemorated Matariki with a public holiday, marking a significant cultural milestone.

What is Matariki?

Matariki is the Māori name given to the cluster of stars that rise at dawn in mid-Winter, signifying the start of a new year. 

During this time, Māori honour loved ones departed in the year past, envision the abundance of the year to come, and send their heartfelt aspirations skyward. The Matariki cluster, comprising approximately 500 stars, some visible to the naked eye, is often likened to a maternal figure and her daughters.

What is Puanga?

For some of our neighbouring regions the Matariki star cluster is obscured by mountain ranges, and so the appearance of Puanga marks the dawning of the Māori New Year.

Puanga, meaning 'the abundance of food,' symbolises a period of celebration and reflection, marking the time to observe the Maramataka, a traditional calendar guiding fishing, planting, and bird migrations. It honors the cycles of growth and harvest in the māra (gardens) and acknowledges departed loved ones whose spirits ascend to become stars. Puanga is a time for learning, renewing faith, and fostering hope for the future. While some iwi view Puanga as signaling the onset of the New Year, Matariki, appearing shortly after, marks its commencement.

In Horowhenua, we are fortunate to witness both Puanga and Matariki in our skies.

Events & Activities Programme

Horowhenua District Council, in collaboration with local Iwi and hapū, has curated an array of fantastic whānau-friendly events to celebrate the Māori New Year.

This year’s Puanga Matariki events will take place between 24 June and 9 July. Be sure to check out the starting times and location of each event so you don’t miss out! 


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