Matariki

Matariki ki tua o ngā whetū - Matariki of endless possibilities
— Dr. Rangi Matamua

In the Northern hemisphere they celebrate Christmas and New Year in the depths of winter.  In Aotearoa we have a wonderful reason to mark mid-winter-Matariki. We see so many ECE centres, playcentres, kura and kōhanga making the most of Matariki and the opportunities for learning. Here we share some answers to pātai about Matariki based on our own recent learning. We hope it encourages you to celebrate our unique NZ culture in your own way this (new) year.

What is Matariki?

Matariki is a cluster of stars traditionally associated with and celebrated as the dawning of the new year by Māori.

Why do we celebrate Matariki?

The first and foremost purpose of celebrating Matariki is to acknowledge tīpuna. The mauri and the wairua of those gone from this world before us, both in the year past and their ancestors too, right back to the beginnings of whakapapa. So whatever our plans for Matariki we should remain mindful of this and keep aroha in our hearts.

How was Matariki traditionally observed?

Traditionally a sacrificial feast would be ritually prepared in a special oven. Selected food symbolically charged and corresponding to the stars would be included. On the night Matariki rose in the sky the names of the e ngā mate-the years dead would be chanted through the night, memories of them reviewed, as they symbolically released to the eternal cosmos. When the  the steam rose from the cooking process it acted both as a cleansing process for the years concerns while also carrying hopes and aspirations for the coming year to the heavens.

How was Matariki tradionally celebrated?

Matariki rose at a time when the hunting, gathering and harvesting of food was completed for the season. Then people had time for remembering, reflection and celebration during Matariki. Festivities were held which included kai, waiata and haka. The timing allowed people pause to enjoy pleasurable pastimes including games, arts, stories and connection to the natural world.

How is Matariki celebrated now?

Since the 1990’s New Zealanders have been reviving the ancient practice of celebrating Matariki in many and varied ways. Celebrations with food, singing and dancing. Activities that bring people together, to observe the stars and the Winter night sky. Creative fun, such as  making kites or lanterns, storytelling, music and arts.  The SKY is really the limit in planning for marking Matariki-an ancient tradition that feels wonderfully unique in modern times.

How do we know when Matariki is?

Māori based their lives on a Lunar calendar while we now observe the Solar calendar, the complexities of this system mash up explain the perpetual mysteries and confusion around modern day Matariki timing. Dr. Rangi Matamua (author of Matariki-Star of the year) has said that for 2017 Matariki will be visible in the night sky from around the 17th of June-his astronomical know how points us in the right direction for timing our celebrations well.

How can we find the Matariki stars

From mid-late June, just before sunrise, look to the north-east horizon. Find the constellation Tautoru, sometimes called ‘The Pot’ or ‘Orion’s Belt’. Trace a line northwards from the three stars of Tautoru. Look for a faint sparkle of tiny dots, about the same width as Tautoru is long. This is the Matariki star cluster.

Tīramarama ngā whetū

Ngā tuāhine e iwa

Tiramarama Matariki ē

Ka kitea i te moata ē

Hei whakanui i te Tau Hou

O te iwi Māori e Matariki ē !

 The bright shining stars

The nine sisters

Shining bright for Matariki

You’ll see them early morning

Celebrating the Māori New Year

It is Matariki e!

Download Reo Pēpi Matariki rauemi colouring sheet here

Download Reo Pēpi Matariki rauemi story here

Download Reo Pēpi Matariki rauemi story 2 here

Paku whānau review Reo Pēpi!

A couple of months ago we called for whānau reviewers. With 7 tamariki under 7 we knew the Paku whānau would be pīwari perfect to trial Rua-Series 2. Ōtautahi powerhouse māmā Olivia Paku sent us this tino atāhua report on their experience of our pukapuka.

Above: The Paku whānau enjoying Reo Pēpi pukapuka!

Olivia Paku: What a pleasure to recieve Reo Pēpi – Rua in the post! A delightful package to receive.

Initially I left the books on the bench in the kitchen at my home and waited to see what the reactions were going to be with these flash new books on display – primarily waiting for the children to come over pick them up and have a look but to my surprise it was the adults in my whare who showed interest in wanting to read them first before the children! Some wanting to know how easy/hard the reo would be (and if they would be able to read it to the kids) and second - learning new words!

Once our tamariki got hold of them there was definite division! The boys enjoyed Ngā Tae as it had all the insects in the book and their mission after reading the book was to go out into the garden and try find all the insects in the book to confirm they were the same colour as the pictures!

For our younger girls (2-3 years) they enjoyed Te Kaute as they are right at that age where at kindy/kohanga they are starting/learning to count.

Miss six loved Nga Āhua as she found it most enjoyable to copy the pictures out of the book and also cut the shapes out of her scrap booking materials.

Even our youngest whānau member (4 months) enjoyed looking at the pictures whilst at the change table or being read to by other whānau members. Never to young to start learning our reo.

So there were favourites amongst all different ages which lead into creative activities/ideas which kept them entertained during the school holidays! Thank you!

Our kōkō of the whānau also enjoyed learning both individually and with the kids as they helped him and vice versa – was nice to hear our tamariki encouraging their kōkō and laughing when he got it terribly wrong but his goal for 2017 is to start to learn te reo and what better way than with these books and his mokopuna to help.

Absolutely wonderful books, thoroughly enjoyed at all ages. Kia pai tō mahi korua! Ka wani ke! Mauri ora!

Pāti! Pāti! Pāti! Reo Pēpi launch Rua-Series 2

Wawanei! What a big day for us! Launching Reo Pēpi Rua-Series 2!

We started with a much coveted spot on te reo irirangi-the radio! Spacestaion Kiwi with Capt. Cornflakes and the beautiful Rainbow Rosalind!

We were so excited to present our new pukapuka to te ao marama! The University Bookshop was the pīwari perfect location. Bright, colourful and warm. Ngā mihi Bronwyn, Clemency and the whānau at UBS! Thank you to all the mātua and tamariki who came along on a brisk Ōtēpoti morning for waiata and stories from us.

We were so excited to present our new pukapuka to te ao marama! The University Bookshop was the pīwari perfect location. Bright, colourful and warm. Ngā mihi Bronwyn, Clemency and the whānau at UBS! Thank you to all the mātua and tamariki who came along on a brisk Ōtēpoti morning for waiata and stories from us.

After the formalities (and a karakia) we all enjoyed some keke together. This tino nui Reo Pēpi cake was crafted by Sarah from Portobello Treats and Sweets-a favourite haunt of certain tamariki we know!

After the formalities (and a karakia) we all enjoyed some keke together. This tino nui Reo Pēpi cake was crafted by Sarah from Portobello Treats and Sweets-a favourite haunt of certain tamariki we know!

Here is one of the many tīpare that were created at the mahi toi table by the diligent crafters at the pāti! Ka rawe Layla!

Here is one of the many tīpare that were created at the mahi toi table by the diligent crafters at the pāti! Ka rawe Layla!

Following our launch pāti we whipped home to Reo Pēpi HQ for a whānau friendly photo shoot with pēpi, mātua, kai, more keke and plenty of snaps by the amazing Isabella Harrex-watch out for new and beautiful pikitia coming soon! For now though here are some more shots of our special launch day-there are so many! Aroha mai, aroha atu!

Following our launch pāti we whipped home to Reo Pēpi HQ for a whānau friendly photo shoot with pēpi, mātua, kai, more keke and plenty of snaps by the amazing Isabella Harrex-watch out for new and beautiful pikitia coming soon! For now though here are some more shots of our special launch day-there are so many! Aroha mai, aroha atu!