Matariki is a time of remembrance, celebration, and anticipation in Aotearoa, New Zealand. It marks the Māori New Year, heralded by the rise of the Matariki star cluster in midwinter, also known globally as the Pleiades. This significant occasion brings people together to reflect on the past, celebrate the present, and look forward to the future.

Matariki Hunga Nui - Remembrance

Matariki invites us to honour those we have lost since the last rising of the stars. It is a moment to remember and cherish the memories of our loved ones who have passed away.

Matariki Ahunga Nui - Celebrating the Present

It's also a time to gather with whānau and friends, giving thanks for the present. Sharing stories, enjoying good food, and expressing gratitude for everything we have.

Matariki Manako Nui - Looking to the Future

Looking forward, Matariki fills us with hope and promises for the new year. It's a time to set intentions, make plans, and envision a future filled with possibilities.

Photo of people showing their Paintvine Matariki artwork

Matariki’s story is deeply rooted in Māori mythology. It is said that the god of the wind, Tāwhirimātea, was so upset by the separation of his parents, Ranginui (the sky father) and Papatūānuku (the earth mother), that he tore out his eyes and threw them into the heavens, creating the Matariki cluster.

Traditionally, Māori were exceptional observers of the night sky, using the stars to determine the time of day, changes in seasons, and to navigate the oceans. The beginning and ending of Matariki were calculated differently by various iwi, depending on their local environment and geography, as well as their observations of the sun and moon. The Māori year, based on lunar phases, follows a 354-day system, while the Western Gregorian calendar is 365.25 days long. This difference means that Matariki occurs on different dates each year in the Western calendar.

Historically, Matariki was a period to acknowledge the cycle of life and death, to thank the gods for the harvest, and to share this bounty with loved ones. Though these celebrations had dwindled by the 1940s, they were revived in the 2000s and have since grown into vibrant annual events. In 2022, Matariki was recognised as a public holiday, giving everyone a chance to celebrate.

Photo of people having fun painting Matariki homages at Paintvine

At Paintvine, we are excited to join in the Matariki celebrations through art. This year, we invite you to create and reflect with us. Let’s come together to paint, remember, celebrate, and look forward to the future!