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Te Matapihi Ki Te Ao Nui

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Syndetics book coverPuanga, star of the Māori New Year = Ko Puanga-nui-ā-rangi te whetū mātāmua o te tau hou Māori : nānā i ārahi i ā Matariki tana tuahine tō muri iho, by Sam T. Rerekura.
The author draws on oral sources as well as early church mission archives to set out an important book which develops our understanding of Puanga (Rigel). He explains Puanga's family, meaning and significance in Māori mythology across tribes. Tikanga and customs which accompanied this time of year are also outlined. The New Year was a sacred time for Maori when offerings were made and laid out by the tohunga. The text is well supported by many black and white images from heritage collections such as the Alexander Turnbull Library photographs collection, or astronomical organisations.


Traditionally Puanga and Matariki appeared at the end of the harvest. The kumara and other root foods had been gathered and pataka kai (food storage houses) were full. The migration of fish such as moki and korokoro also made Puanga/Matariki a time of bountiful catches.

Puanga/Matariki was a time for manaakitanga, to share and present offerings to others. Visitors were often showered with gifts of specially preserved eel, birds and other delicacies. If the stars of Matariki appear clear and bright, a plentiful season ensures. If blurred and hazy, then a cold and poor season will follow. Hence we hear the saying "Ngā kai a Matariki, nānā i ao ake ki runga" - The food supplies of Matariki, by her scooped up".

Puanga and Matariki is a time to wānanga, to restore faith and hope for the future, a time for whanaungatanga, to be with others, share stories and kai, and celebrate who we are.

As well as marking the beginning of a new year, it also signals other new beginnings. Traditionally Puanga and Matariki was the time to plant trees, prepare the land for planting crops and renew associations with whānau, family and friends.

The New Year is also a good time to reflect on your place in the world, to reawaken old skills or try out new ones and set new goals.

Books for children

Syndetics book coverThe seven stars of Matariki, by Toni Rolleston-Cummins ; illustrated by Nikki Slade-Robinson.
"When Mitai's seven handsome brothers are bewitched by seven beautiful women, Mitai seeks advice and learns that the women are patupaiarehe and must be cast far away. ... A contemporary myth of love, magic, and adventure that celebrates Matariki. Brief factual information about Matariki. " (Syndetics summary) Listen to a recording in English or Māori.

Syndetics book coverScoop & Scribe search for the seven stars of Matariki, by Tommy Kapai Wilson ; edited by Becky Hare and Graham Stride ; illustrations by Rob Turvey.
Scoop and Scribe are two young reporters searching for the secret of Matariki. This search takes them around New Zealand as a mystical kaumatua takes them to find the seven stars of Matariki. Story includes Māori vocabulary. Suggested level: primary, intermediate.

Syndetics book coverStories from our night sky / Melanie Drewery ; [illustrated by] Jenny Cooper.
Collection of stories and poems drawn from traditional Māorifolklore, from the legends of Matariki, Rona and the Moon, and more. Suggested level: junior, primary.

Celebrating Matariki, by Libby Hakaraia.
"Matariki is a constellation of stars that has been known to Māori for hundreds of years. It marks the beginning of the Māori New Year, and is a time for celebration, the planting of new crops, feasting and reflection. Learn about Matariki and try some of the activities in this book such as making a feast, making a telescope and keeping a star chart notebook. Listen to the story of Matariki and sing the songs on the CD, for which Māori and English lyrics are included."--Back cover.

Matariki / nā Melanie Drewery ; nā Bruce Potter ngā whakaahua.
A family celebrate the Māori New Year and talk about what Matariki means to different people. Suggested level: junior, primary.


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