A twinkle in his eye

He tore out his eyes in anger and threw them into the sky, creating seven stars. And from just a twinkle in Tawhirimatea’s eyes, Matariki was born.

Matariki, meaning ‘little eyes’, is a special time in the Maori calendar with a focus on festivity – a time for singing, dancing and feasting.

In early June the clustered stars to the north-east horizon shine brighter than ever to signify a time of harvesting, celebration and remembrance.

“Matariki is the Maori New Year, but it’s also a time of celebration by coming together as a community,” says Awhina August from Te Puna i Rangiriri Trust.

“For Tauranga, this year’s theme is waiti waita waipuna ora. Waiti is one of the stars in the Matariki cluster and represents fresh water, so we have a very strong water and energy theme.”

Te Puna i Rangiriri Trust have many events to celebrate Matariki, such as workshops – some of which will be delivered in Te Reo Maori – an evening lecture series, a market day and navigated tours with star navigator Jack Thatcher.

Awhina says they generally see more than 800 people taking part in events throughout the week, with schools all the way from Waihi to Whakatane attending.

All events will be based at the Mauao Camp Ground, which is where the essence of Matariki began.

 “What we believe is that the celebration of the observance of Matariki actually started in Tauranga back in 1996, so we’re quite proud of that. It’s been great that there has been an avalanche of celebrations across the country.”

For more information, go to the Te Puna i Rangiriri Trust Facebook Page.