Matariki was celebrated at Pahiatua Marae on Saturday, July 10, starting at 5.45am with the lighting of a fire on the grounds and a karakia.
"One of the important things is to farewell the year that's gone," said Richard Daymond. "And everything that went with it - all the good, the bad and the ugly.
"In the past year and the challenges we've been through, it's time for us to say goodbye to that, close the door, turn and look forward to the year that's coming - we acknowledge and we welcome in everything that's coming.
"We take a look at the environment around us and we think of all the things we are going to need to do and what signs are going to help us do that.
"We're going to think about our food, our crops, our growing, food sources and all the resources around us. We can find examples of how these things are going to develop in the near future. The stars and the way they shine can help us with that.
"Once the fire is lit, the symbol of the fire is two-fold. First, the fire (Te Ahi Kaa) is about keeping the home fire burning and the marae warm. When people are at the marae, the fire is going - it's needed to cook all the kai. Without the fire you had hungry people.
"Second, as the smoke rises, it carries all our hopes and dream and aspirations for the future to Ranginui, as well as messages for those who have gone before us. As the smoke rises, so do all our thoughts," he said.
"The celebration of Matariki (Mānawatia a Matariki), is the time of the year and is about two particular stars," said kaumātua Warren Chase.
"Hiwaiterangi (the wishing star) represents how we look forward - that's the future, what we want to achieve, where we want to be. Not just as a group, but individually as well. We want to improve ourselves.
"Pohutukawa is not just the Christmas tree, it's also one of the stars of Matariki. It's the star we look to for our whānau who have passed on in the last 12 months, remembering them," he said.
The other seven stars of Matariki are: Waitī (freshwater), Waitā (saltwater), Waipuna-a-rangi, Tupuārangi, Ururangi, Tupuānuku and Matariki.
"There is a male and female balance to all of them. It's an important part of who we are as Māori," said Warren.
There was much activity going in the marae with workshops for carving (whakairo), weaving (raranga), fried bread lessons (paraoa parai), zero waste (para kore), and kapa haka. There was a display from Pukaha National Wildlife Centre.
Richard and Chris Daymond have been doing the carving course through Te Wānanga O Aotearoa, Te Kāwai Raupapa - the Māori Arts Design course to do with carving.
They had a display of wheku (faces) and poupou - carvings that will go into the marae. The tipo tipo standing alone took 300 hours (six months) to complete from a solid block of wood.
Traditional weapons were on display (patu rākau) made out of hard wood with kereru feathers and hakareka muka and taiaha.
Chris Daymond was carving a traditional long flute (putōrino).