28 Jun 2024

Matariki Guides Our Way

Matariki is the Māori name for the Pleiades, a cluster of seven stars that appears in the early morning sky in New Zealand in mid-winter. 

Matariki is a public holiday in New Zealand that signals the start of the Māori New Year, a time to honour those we have lost, to celebrate what we have, and to look forward to the year ahead. 

Matariki also reminds us of the extraordinary navigational skills of early Maori explorers and their ability to read the night sky. 

Here is a poem I wrote about Matariki. 

The tiny tears of Matariki guide us, as they steered the first navigators from Hawaiki to here. 

             On their waka of discovery, those sailors watched stars rise and planets set and found their way. They followed the migration of bird and fish and mammal - godwit, albatross and shearwater, mako shark and humpback; reading the weather and the waves, they steered their twin-hulled craft to Aotearoa. 

             The Matariki cluster signals Māori New Year, and a new cycle begins.  It is a time to remember loved ones lost, and free them to the galaxy.  It is a time to dream.  

             The stars of Matariki right our course when we lose it; they ask us to give thanks for what we have, and to give what we have to give. 

             He waka eke noa – We are all in this together. 


Mary Somervell

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