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2022 marks the first year where Aotearoa recognises Matariki as an official public holiday. It is a time of renewal and celebration that begins with the rising of the Marariki star cluster.

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What is Matariki?

In te ao Māori (the Māori world view), Matariki is the name for the cluster of stars which are also known as the Pleiades.

Traditionally, the appearance of Matariki heralds a time of remembrance, joy and peace, where communities come together to celebrate the start of the new year. It is a time to acknowledge the dearly departed and to release their spirits to become stars, to be thankful to the gods for the harvest, to feast and to share the bounty of the harvest with whānau and friends.

Matariki translates directly to “eyes of god” (mata ariki) or “little eyes” (mata riki). It is an abbreviation for “Ngā Mata o te Ariki Tāwhirimātea” (The eyes of the god Tāwhirimātea). Tāwhirimātea is the atua/god of the winds and weather. According to Māori mythology, Tāwhirimātea was so angry when his siblings separated their parents, Ranginui the sky father and Papatūānuku the earth mother, that he tore out his eyes and threw them into the heavens.

About the stars

A cluster is a group of stars that are near each other in space. When seen from Earth, the stars in a constellation appear to be close together in a pattern. There are about 500 stars in the Matariki cluster, but only around six/seven can be clearly seen from Earth without use of a telescope.

Contrary to popular belief, many Iwi believe there to be nine main stars in the Matariki cluster, each seen as an individual with a defined purpose that is intrinsically connected with te ao Māori.

  • Matariki is the mother of the constellation. She is connected with wellbeing, and often viewed as an omen of good fortune and health.
  • Pōhutukawa is connected with the dead, and in particular those who have passed on from our world since the last heliacal rising of Matariki.
  • Tupuānuku is associated with food grown in the ground and traditionally, when Matariki sets in the western sky at dusk during the month of May, it indicates that winter is coming and the harvesting of the gardens should be completed.
  • Tupuārangi is associated with the food that comes from the sky, connecting Matariki to the harvesting of birds and other elevated foods such as fruit and berries from the trees.
  • Waitī is connected to fresh water and all creatures that live within rivers, streams and lakes.
  • Waitā is associated with the ocean, representing the many kinds of food that Māori gather from the sea.
  • Waipunarangi is connected to the rain.
  • Ururangi means ‘the winds of the sky’ and is said to determine the nature of winds for the year.
  • Hiwa-i-te-rangi is connected to the promise of prosperous season.

Read more here.  

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Where can you see Matariki for yourself?

From early June, and on a clear morning just before sunrise, you should be able to see Matariki in the north-east. If you find Tautoru (Orion’s belt/’the pot’) and trace northwards to look for a faint sparkle of tiny dots, about the same width as Tautoru is long – this is Matariki!

In summer, Matariki can be seen in the same location shortly after sunset.

Watch the Te Papa video guide for finding Matariki here.

Celebrating Matariki in Waikato district

There are a variety of events happening across the Waikato district in celebration of Matariki. View 2022 celebrations below.

Our Waikato District Libraries team are celebrating Matariki with our annual Matariki Online Competition! Check it out here.

For more events happening around the Waikato District area check out Matariki Ki Waikato.


After-school Arts Classes - Inspiring Matariki

Monday 20 June, 3.30pm-5pm
Wednesday 22 June, 3.30pm-5pm
Wednesday 29 June, 3.30pm-5pm
Monday 4 July, 3.30pm-5pm
Raglan Arts Centre
5 Stewart Street, Raglan

Matariki Solstice Celebration

Saturday 27 June, 6pm-9pm
Raglan Arts Centre
5 Stewart Street, Raglan

Raglan Creative Market - Matariki Celebrations

Sunday 26 June, 10am-2pm
Raglan Arts Centre
5 Stewart Street, Raglan

Matariki ki Whaingaroa

Sunday 26 June, 10am-2pm
Bow Street, Raglan
See Poster
See Facebook Event

Paint a Bowl

Thursday 30 June 6pm-8pm
Saturday 2 July 10am-12pm
Raglan Arts Centre
5 Stewart Street, Raglan
Book online here 

Whētu Mārama: Bright Star 90-minute documentary

Saturday 2 July, 5pm
Saturday 2 July, 8pm
Sunday 17 July, 4:30pm
Raglan Arts Centre
5 Stewart Street, Raglan


Matariki Art Exhibition Opening Night

Friday 17 June, 6pm-8pm
Then open for: Mon-Fri, 9am-4pm until Sunday 10 July
Te Whare Toi o Ngaaruawaahia - Ngā Art
18 Herschel Street, Ngāruawāhia

Matariki Market

Saturday 9 July, 10am-2pm
Te Whare Toi o Ngaaruawaahia - Ngā Art
18 Herschel Street, Ngāruawāhia


Te Kauwhata & Meremere

Matariki Carving Festival 2022:

Beef Bone Whalestooth Workshop

Saturday 18 June, 10am-5pm
Toi Ako Artspace, Te Kauwhata

Pounamu Toki Workshop

Sunday 19 June, 10am-5.30pm
Toi Ako Artspace, Te Kauwhata

Introduction to Oamaru Stone Carving

Friday 24 June, 9.30am-4pm
Meremere Hall
Saturday 25 June, 9.30am-4pm
RSA Hall, Te Kauwhata

School Holiday Lino Cut & Print Workshops

Monday 18 July, 10am-2pm
Meremere Hall
Thursday 21 July, 10am-2pm
RSA Hall, Te Kauwhata

Soap Carving Pop Up

Look out for the Toi Ako tents out on streets in Te Kauwhata and Meremere.

View full Matariki Carving Festival 2022 details here.

Matariki Event

Wednesday 22 June, 5pm-7.30pm
Te Kauwhata College


Pōkeno Matariki Market 2022

Friday 24 June, 10am–2pm
Pōkeno Hall

Are you hosting an event in the Waikato District that isn’t listed here? Send us an email to with your event details, including time and location and we will add this to our list.