Over recent years I along with many others have a renewed appreciation for Matariki. Celebrating Matariki or Puanga is increasingly popular, with many people braving the brisk mid-winter evening to go out and celebrate under the canvas of the stars, paying tribute to Matariki.
Matariki literally means the ‘eyes of god’ (mata ariki) or ‘little eyes’ (mata riki) although we celebrate in the evenings, Matariki for many of us in Aotearoa the Matariki stars are only visible at dawn before they get overpowered by the days light.
Traditionally the brightness of these stars were considered an indication of the how good the coming growing season ahead would be. The brighter the stars the warmer the new growing season and therefore the more productive the crops would be.
The rise of Matariki signals the Māori New Year, an important time for family to gather to acknowledge those who had passed away, reflecting on the past year and celebrate the future ahead. It is a time to acknowledge and let go of the past and focus on the good
Planning for the year ahead is really good practice and a time to check in with yourself. My Kaumātua the late Matua Bill Sterling and the late Aunty Vera Morgan would always say “Look after yourself, if you are not well then you can’t give time, energy or care to those around us, this is a time for you to check in with your wellbeing”. These are such important words and really imperative, especially for those whose work revolves around caring, supporting and working with others.
For those of you that have never participated in Matariki or Puanga, I encourage you to participate, or even take some time out under the evening stars take some time for yourself, reflect and re energise,
I personally wish you a wonderful Matariki and encourage you to look around you and up to the sky and give yourself some time to heal and nurture yourself and families and to prepare for the new season.