Matariki in New Zealand
Matariki is the Māori name for the cluster of stars also known as the Pleiades. It rises just once a year, mid-winter – late May or early June.For many Māori, it heralds the start of a new year.Matariki literally means the ‘eyes of god’ (mata ariki) or ‘little eyes’ (mata riki) and the rising of the stars is traditionally a time to remember those who had died in the last year. Matariki is also a happy time; crop and seafood gathering provides plenty of food in the storehouses and this is a time for singing, dancing and feasting. A special feature of Matariki celebrations is the flying of kites – according to ancient custom they flutter close to the stars.Happy new year!