Today marks the start of Matariki as the stars rise

Today Matariki reappeared in the dawn sky, signaling the beginning of the Māori New Year. 

While the public holiday will always be celebrated on a Friday (so that we all have a long weekend), the actual date of Matariki moves around dependent on when the star cluster rises in the sky.

Re: journalist Matiu Hamuera went along to an umu kohukohu whetū ceremony this morning held by Ngāti Whātua Ōrākei at Takaparawhau Bastion Point in Tāmaki Makaurau.

Umu kohukohu whetū is an ancient practice that is being revived to honour and celebrate Matariki. 

There are nine Matariki stars and four of them are associated with food: Tupuānuku (the star that represents food from below ground), Tupuārangi (food from the sky), Waitī (freshwater food) and Waitā (salt water food). 

Food from these areas are placed on an altar with the steam rising to nourish the stars. There is a strong belief that the offering will result in a bountiful harvest for the year ahead.

More stories:

‘A time of whakatau’: Pounamu Wharekawa on their Matariki illustrations

Re: talks to the Kirikiriroa-based artist about rest, whānau, what this time of year means to them.

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