New Zealand Celebrates Matariki Day, Friday, July 14, 2023

Julia Schneemann | | BrainsBrains
Matariki Day, July 14, 2023. | Picture: New Zealand National Geographic

Today is Matariki Day in New Zealand. Matariki is the Maori name for a cluster of seven stars that appears in the early morning sky in New Zealand during midwinter. This year the day falls on July 14, 2023. The constellation of these seven stars is known as Pleiades or Seven Sisters in Western culture, but is known as Matariki by the Maori, New Zealand’s indigenous Polynesian population.

For the Maori, Matariki marks the Maori new year, as the reappearance of the Matariki stars brings the past year to a close and marks the beginning of a new year. Last year was the first year New Zealand celebrated this day as a public holiday. Many Maori will celebrate the day with a Hangi, a traditional Maori meal that is cooked in a pit oven in the ground.

The Seven Sisters. | Picture:

The seven stars of Matariki are:

Matariki — the mother star, signifying reflection and renewal

Pohutukawa — the remembrance star, associated with those who passed away

Waiti — the freshwater star, responsible for life that freshwater brings

Waita — the star of the ocean, responsible for providing seafood

Tupuanuku — the star of food, associated with the earth and crops

Tupuarangi — the star of music, responsible for inspiration and creativity

Uruarangi — the star of the winds, signifying change and new beginnings

Matariki Day marks the Maori New Year. | Picture: 100% Pure New Zealand Website

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