What is Matariki?
LEVEL: Primary / Intermediate
Matariki is the Māori name for the constellation of stars, as well as the celebration, that signals the Māori New Year. The constellation is also known as the Pleiades or the Seven Sisters.
Te Ara: The Encyclopedia of New Zealand is an excellent starting point for all questions about New Zealand Aotearoa. If we scroll down to the bottom of the page we can see that the website belongs to the Ministry for Culture & Heritage, so the information is well-researched and reliable.
To find out all about Matariki, follow this pathway:
From the homepage scroll down to find the story Earth, Sea and Sky, and click on it.
Now click on astronomy, which is the study of stars.
Now you can click on Matariki - Māori New Year.
Don't forget that you can click on read the full story for more information.
You can also check out images and media to do with Matariki on Te Ara. When you are on the Matariki page, click on the tab called Images and Media for a picture of the Matariki stars. There is also a video you can watch which is all about how Matariki was formed.
The Māori Language Commission has a great Matariki booklet (PDF) with lots of information all about Matariki, and explaining why it is an important part of New Zealand culture. This booklet also has a Matariki calendar.
HOT TIP: We like this site because it's from a government organisation (Ministry or Council). You can tell this by its web address – it has .govt in the address. It's also a New Zealand site, so relevant for us.
To find out about what events will be happening around the time of Matariki, here is the official Matariki home page. Have a look at the link About Matariki and check out the What's on page for information about Matariki events. They also have a cool Matariki TV channel, where you can see video clips of Matariki celebrations.
If you're not quite sure how to find Matariki in the sky, try the the Ministry of Culture and Heritage page about Matariki. Go down the page to find the link to The beginner's guide to finding Matariki (from the Te Ara blog).
Do you want to play a Matariki game? WickED has an interactive game that will help you learn all about Matariki. You can choose to play this game in English or in Māori, just click on the version you want and enjoy.
Also check out Christchurch City Libraries, kids homework pages - scroll down and click on 'Holidays' to find the Matariki for kids page. Here you can get ideas for activities for celebrating Matariki and learn about Matariki traditions.
HOT TIP: For more websites and information, check out the National Library’s Services to Schools page of High Interest Topics. Here you can find lists of reliable websites on many topics, including Matariki. The most recent topics are at the top of the page, or you can browse through an alphabetical list of all the topics that have been published.
You can also check out another ManyAnswers entry if you want to know why the Matariki stars only show at a certain time of the year.