Te Puia and New Zealand Māori Arts and Crafts Institute have been inspiring young minds and sharing Matariki with the community and visitors.

Matariki is a constellation of stars which appears in the night sky in the middle of winter, bringing the lunar year to a close and heralding the start of the Māori New Year - Te Tau Hou Māori.

This cluster of stars, known as the Pleiades, is given the Māori name Matariki, which in Māori translates to the 'eyes of God' (mata ariki) or 'little eyes' (mata riki).

New Zealand Māori Arts and Crafts Institute general manager Eraia Kiel says Matariki is a time of reflection in the Māori culture, where people reflect on the year that has past and prepare for the future.

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Te Puia and the New Zealand Māori Arts and Crafts Institute have been celebrating this special time of year with the public through a range of activities this week.

These Matariki activities are about learning and sharing the Māori culture, he says.

Matariki lectures are being given, where people can learn about the history and traditions of Matariki.

Primary and intermediate schools have been taking part in tamariki activities on site, such as weaving, string games and kapa haka.

"There are lots of really cool activities engaging with our kids and helping them to understand Matariki."

There have also been live tā moko demonstrations and Toi Māori lectures where people can learn about the history and traditions of tā moko (Māori tattoo), raranga (weaving) and whakairo (wood carving) from respected practitioners of these Māori art forms.

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Eraia says this has also been a chance for local people to come through and see all the new schools students have been in for the last six months, as well as check out the new gallery exhibition which is on site until November.

He says through these activities they wanted to celebrate their culture, empower the artist students that are there promoting and preserving Māori arts and crafts, and honor the legacy of their ancestors.

"We wanted to involve a wide range of people, and opened it up to the general public to come along and be part of Matariki."