The arrival of Matariki has long been a time to celebrate for Māori and, in modern times, has become a time for all cultures to come together.

In Northland, Matariki, or the constellation Pleiades, has had an number of great events to celebrate and another is being held in Whangārei tomorrow.

Matariki signals the Māori New Year. Traditionally, it was a time for remembering the dead, and celebrating new life. In the 21st century, observing Matariki has become popular again.

Tomorrow, a Matariki Festival - Taku Ahi, is being held at the Hihiaua Cultural Centre, 56-58 Herekino St, Whangārei from 4pm to 8pm.


It's billed as a day of celebration for the whole whānau.

Entry is via gold coin donation, with the event starting at 4pm with Kai Māori, performance, kapa haka, tā moko, whānau-friendly activities, arts, market stalls and more.

From 6pm there will be "Tohunga Talks" around the fire. The day will finish at 8pm.
Matariki is the Māori name for the cluster of stars also known as the Pleiades. It rises in mid-winter and for many Māori, it heralds the start of a new year.

Matariki literally means the "eyes of god" (mata ariki) or "little eyes" (mata riki).

According to myth, when Ranginui, the sky father, and Papatūānuku, the earth mother, were separated by their children, the god of the winds, Tāwhirimātea, became so angry that he tore out his eyes and threw them into the heavens.

Matariki, or Māori New Year celebrations were once popular, but stopped in the 1940s.

In 2000, they were revived. Only a few people took part at first, but in just a few years thousands were honouring the "New Zealand Thanksgiving".