Ka puta a Matariki, ka rere a Whānui. Ko tēnei te tohu o te tau.

Matariki (Pleiades) reappears. Whānui (Vega) takes its flight.

This is the time of the New Year.

The rise of Matariki in the eastern sky mid- winter, signals the start of Aotearoa's maramataka (lunar calendar).


To understand it is to appreciate the ways of our Tupuna, our creation stories, the relationship between Ranginui and Papatūānuku and the whakapapa of everything in between.

It is the Creator's gift of life to us and unravelling this gift helped our people survive through millennia of time. To quote renowned Tuhoe tohunga Hohepa Kereopa when he gave the inaugural Matariki address at Te Papa Museum in 2001 - "Matariki is my mother, she nurtures me, feeds me, she gives me life".

I am no expert on Matariki and our maramataka, I will leave that to researchers and modern day tohunga such as Dr Rangi Matamua - but I am a believer.

I am thankful to them because we came so close to losing a cornerstone of our matauranga as we embraced the Gregorian calendar - an import from the Northern Hemisphere that makes little sense down-under as a living calendar.

Celebrating Matariki as an event and acknowledging the beginning of our maramataka is a good start.

However to make it part of our lives as a living calendar throughout the year is the ultimate.

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It means we humble ourselves to nature and reconnect with the values of our Tupuna.

Recently, I attended a two day wananga on the maramataka held by Healthy Families Rotorua.

It was an exposé on healthy living using the maramataka as the template.

The keynote speakers were practitioners who embraced the maramataka in their daily lives and the services they provided.

It was impressive hearing how Te Pākārito Early childhood programme in Koutu for example imbued the maramataka as a living experience into their workstream and the positive outcomes they have achieved with our tamariki.

I was so inspired that my own personal maramataka has been developed and my daughter has made the maramataka a foundation for her business.

If someone had called me a lunatic in the past (Latin derivation: moonstruck) I would have been offended.

Today I may see it as a compliment. I will leave that thought with you.

Nga mihi o te tau hou Maori kia koutou.

Te Taru is from Te Arawa, Tainui and Ngāti Porou descent and is the chairman of Te Tatau o Te Arawa, Rotorua Lakes Council partnership. His website is http://tetaruwhite.com.