Modified from The Spinoff, 26 June 2018 and The Conversation, 30 June 2018
Matariki is the Māori name for the Pleaides star cluster. It rises during mid-winter and marks the beginning of the Māori new year. Matariki is one of the most obvious star groups in the night sky and you can it see without needing a telescope.
The word is an abbreviation of the saying “Ngā mata o te ariki Tāwhirimātea” meaning “the eye of the god Tāwhirimātea” in reference to Tāwhirimātea, god of the wind and weather. In the story of creation, Tāne Mahuta (god of the forest) separated his parents Ranginui (atua of the sky) and Papatūānuku (Earth mother), and his brother Tāwhirimātea got upset and tore out his eyes, crushed them into pieces and thew them into the sky.
Matariki is often referred to as the Seven Sisters however there are actually nine stars.
Unlike western New Year, the dates of Matariki change year by year. This year Matariki set on May 19 and will rise again between July 17 and 20.
According to the maramataka (Māori lunar calendar) this year Matariki will be most visible between 6-13 July.
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