Te Kete Ipurangi Navigation:

Te Kete Ipurangi

Te Kete Ipurangi user options:

New Zealand Curriculum Online navigation



Matariki, the Māori New Year, is typically marked by the rise of the Matariki star cluster in the appropriate moon phase. Some iwi observe the rise of the lone star Puaka as the beginning of the new year.

Matariki takes place in mid-winter from late May to early July. The dates vary according to tribes and geography. The first public holiday to celebrate Matariki was held in New Zealand on Friday 24 June, 2022.

About Matariki

Matariki stars.

Matariki is the Māori name for a group of stars that are also known as the Pleiades star cluster.

The physical appearance of Matariki in the sky was traditionally used by a tohunga (a priest or expert) as a forecast of the year ahead. Clear and bright stars signalled warm and productive seasons, and hazy or shimmering clusters meant a cold winter was coming and ground for crops was prepared accordingly.

Each iwi has their own stories and perspectives about Matariki and celebrate Matariki at different times. Some hold festivities when Matariki is first seen in the dawn sky; others celebrate after the rise of the full moon or at the beginning of the next new moon.

Today Matariki is generally seen as an important time to celebrate the earth and show respect for the land. It is also a time to acknowledge those who have passed away and to plan for the year ahead. 

Matariki is a good opportunity for all New Zealanders to come together with Māori communities to learn their stories, culture, and language.

Curriculum connections 

NZC Curriculum icon.

By celebrating Matariki with your students and the wider community you can bring the NZC principles to life, especially the Treaty of Waitangicommunity engagement, and cultural diversity. Matariki provides an opportunity for students to explore the values of diversity, community and participation, and respect for self and others. Matariki is also a useful context to promote the development of key competencies and to examine the social science concepts of cultural identity, place and environment, and continuity and change.

How can you get involved?

Cover for book Matariki breakfast.

Share stories of Matariki
Share the history and stories of Matariki with your staff and students. 

  • Read Matariki Breakfast - this Ready to Read title includes a retelling of a Tainui story about how the Matariki stars brought back Tama-nui-te-rā (the sun) after Māui and his brothers had caught him.
  • Watch Matariki and the six sisters, a story told by Ngāti Toa Rangatira. 

Connect with your local iwi and hapū

Grow your connections with local iwi and hapū, and harness their knowledge of Māori language, culture, and identity. Read this page and watch the videos on Education Leaders about Building relationships with whānau, hapū, and iwi.

Engage with your community

Host a breakfast or evening supper for your local community to celebrate Matariki together. Encourage your students to get involved in the design and organisation of the event. 

Matariki ki runga! Celebrating Martariki is a handbook that includes detailed information on the hautapu ceremony and appropriate karakia.   

Take care of the environment 
Matariki is a time for reflection and strengthening connections between people and te taiao. You could work with your students and community to plant trees in conservation areas, or start planning your school garden. Read about two schools that connected with Matariki by planting native forest in this Education Gazette article, Replenishing Tāne and connecting with te taiao.

Integrate Matariki with mathematics
Use cross-strand maths units available for levels 1-4 on Tāhūrangi:

Integrate Matariki with technology
Check out this unit plan from Technology Online for integrating Matariki through technological modelling.

Get involved in events
Research what festivities are being held in your area and get involved.

  • Tāmaki Makaurau - The Matariki Festival in Auckland heralds the Māori new year in Tāmaki Makaurau and an opportunity to celebrate te ao Māori through stories, film, entertainment, discussions, performance, food and art.
  • Te Whanganui a Tara - Matariki Puanga - celebrate with kai and spectacular, free, whānau-friendly, live, and digital, experiences on the Waterfront.
  • Ōtautahi - Christchurch City Libraries - explore the traditions and importance of Matariki with information about resources, crafts, and ways to celebrate.
  • Ōtepoti - Puaka Matariki Festival marks the Māori New Year through a citywide programme of community events, celebrating the midwinter season of wānaka (learning) and whanaukataka (community spirit). 

Instructional series 

Another great way to get your students involved in Matariki is to incorporate it into your reading and writing programme. The Instructional Series on Tāhūrangi offers a range of texts about Matariki. Check them out! 

Matariki Breakfast, Ready to Read, shared text, 2017
Matariki Breakfast describes Kara’s experience of celebrating Matariki with her whānau. It includes a retelling of a Tainui story about how the Matariki stars brought back Tama-nui-te-rā (the sun) after Māui and his brothers had caught him.

Lighting the sky with Raspberry Pi, Connected 2018, Level 2 - Step By Step
Students at Fernridge School have created a digital light display for Matariki using Raspberry Pi computers. This article shows how the students created the light display, providing a real-life context for exploring how computers work.

Pages from Celebrating Puanga at Ramanui.

Celebrating Puanga at Ramanui, School Journal Level 2, November 2017
This article describes how one Taranaki school celebrates the appearance of the star Puanga in the eastern sky – the signal for the start of the Māori New Year. In other parts of Aotearoa, people watch for Matariki, but that constellation is hard to see in the Taranaki region.

Matariki, Ready to Read, Level 2, 2010
This report explains some of the stories and beliefs associated with Matariki and describes some of the ways that Matariki is celebrated. (Audio and teacher support materials only).

He Kohikohinga

He Kohikohinga targets students in years 3–5, and is written specifically but not exclusively for students in Māori immersion contexts. He Kohikohinga aims to appeal to students' interests and experiences while enhancing their knowledge of te ao Māori and te ao whānui. 

Te Wharekura

These te reo Māori kōrero describe the Matariki star cluster and related aspects of tikanga and mātauranga in te ao Māori

Useful resources

Kauwhata Reo - Te Mātahi o te Tau Matariki Ahunga Nui
Te Tāhuhu o te Mātauranga | The Ministry of Education has developed a new set of curriculum resources, to support kōhanga reo, early learning, kura and schools to recognise and celebrate the Matariki rā whakatā ā-ture in their communities.

Te Papa Tongarewa - Matariki Akonga Nui: Matariki for teachers
Delve into a selection of teaching and learning activities that uncover the meaning and stories of Matariki, the values that relate to this special time of the year, and the ways in which you can celebrate it with your ākongaākongastudentsMāori in your setting.

New Zealand History - Matariki for schools – Te Akomanga
This resource includes a range of approaches and activities to help students learn about Matariki. 

Te Wānanga o Aotearoa - Matariki
This website by Te Wānanga o Aotearoa explains the history behind Matariki celebrations and includes stories, resources, and information about events.

Te Ara - Story: Matariki – Te Tau Hou Māori
This resource offers the full story of Matariki with images and a short film clip.

Raranga Matihiko and Waitangi Treaty Grounds - Matariki and digital technologies resource (online PDF) 
This resource provides educators (including parents) with ideas and activities for teaching the New Zealand Curriculum Technology Progress Outcomes using the context of Matariki. The activities can be adapted for use with year 1-8 students.

National Library of New Zealand - Topic Explorer - Matariki
The National Library has curated a range of teaching and learning resources to help you celebrate Matariki with your students. 

Any Questions - Many Answers - Matariki
Answers to popular questions about Matariki asked on AnyQuestions.

Matariki star weaving
This clip explains how to weave Matariki stars out of paper strips.

Celebrating Matariki through picture books
An easy way to bring some Matariki stories into your classroom - in the form of a picture book.

You might like ... 

Rosalie Reiri.

What Matariki means to me
In this blog Rosalie Reiri, an education facilitator, talks about the personal significance of Matariki and provides some key messages for teachers.

Updated on: 14 Jun 2022