How Will You Celebrate Matariki 2020?

While we have COVID-19 lingering about, there are still many opportunities for us to celebrate Matariki 2020.

What does Matariki mean?

Māori use the name Matariki to describe the entire cluster of stars known in astronomy as Pleiades. According to a manuscript of Māori astronomical knowledge compiled by Rāwiri Te Kōkau, the genealogy shows Matariki and her eight children as noted below. The different names of the stars in the Matariki group are significant for Māori, as each individual has a defined purpose and is intrinsically connected with Te Ao Māori, the Māori world, as follows:

  1. Matariki: Signifies reflection, hope and our connection to the environment
  2. Pōhutukawa: Connects with people who have passed on
  3. Waitī: Fresh bodies of water and the food within it
  4. Waitā: The ocean and the food in it
  5. Waipuna-ā-rangi: Associated with raining
  6. Tupuānuku: Food that grows within the soil
  7. Tupuārangi: Food that grows on trees
  8. Ururangi: Associated with wind
  9. Hiwa-i-te-rangi: The wishing star that also ties into our aspirations for the coming year

Reference: Matariki The Star of the Year by Rangi Matamua

So how do we celebrate it presently? See below for some ideas, activities and festivals that celebrate Matariki 2020, the Māori New Year!

Matariki ideas (related to each of the Matariki stars):

  1. Matariki: Sleep under the stars – reflect and connect to the environment. You can do this in your backyard!
  2. Pōhutukawa: Tree planting – signifying remembrance. Click here to search for Matariki Tree Planting.
  3. Waitī: Visit your local stream, river or lake – Understand its source and the ecosystem in it.
  4. Waitā: Mid-winter swim – Connect with Tangaroa, the atua of the sea and fish.
  5. Waipuna-ā-rangi: Singing in the rain – Blast out your favourite waiata on the next rainy day.
  6. Tupuānuku: Celebrate with a whānau feast – Whether it’s a hangi or Sunday roast, enjoy the company of family and friends.
  7. Tupuārangi: Support your kids’ sports team – Take along some mandarins or orange slices.
  8. Ururangi: Make your own kite – So you can fly it into the heavens
  9. Hiwa-i-te-rangi: Create some New Year’s resolutions

Matariki Activities/Festivals:   

Online events:

Sunday 21st June 4:00 pm – 8:00 pm

Celebrate Matariki with art classes, videos and activities for all ages to enjoy!


Saturday 20th June – 15th July

Experience the Matariki Dawn Service, virtual karakia, online korero, and more.


Wednesday 15th July 2020 10:00 am – 2:00 pm

Te Ahu Centre, Cnr Matthews Ave & South Rd, Kaitaia

Ngati Kahu Social & Health Services are celebrating a whānau friendly event with entertainment, stalls, activities, kai, crafts, spot prizes and games.


Saturday 20th June – 15th July

Experience a pop-up kapa haka, kites at your place and more. 


Saturday 27th June 2020 7:30 pm – 9:00 pm

The Meteor, 1 Victoria Street, Hamilton, Waikato

Musicians will collaborate in real-time exploring Matariki through a multi-art form experience.

Kapiti coast

Friday 26th June 2020 10:30 am – 12:00 pm

Otaki Public Library, Main St, Ōtaki, Kapiti Coast

Make dream catchers honouring the Māori New Year with Otaki Public Library. All craft materials will be supplied.


Friday 19th June – 27th July

Discover the events and exhibitions happening throughout the Wellington region, from various exhibitions to a Te Reo Matariki Workshop. 


Wednesday 24th June 10 am, and 11:30 am

Celebrate Matariki with a gigantic scale puppet show featuring glow-in-the-dark characters from Māori myth and legend! 


Saturday 20th June 2020 10:00 am – 2:00 pm

Christchurch South Community Gardens, 188 Strickland St, Spreydon, Christchurch

Join Christchurch South Community Garden for their winter market day. There will be soups and a sausage sizzle to keep you warm, and plenty of plants, produce and preserves for sale, and if you’re feeling lucky there’s a free raffle!

Saturday 4th July 2020 – 19th July 2020 10:00 am – 4:00 pm

Christchurch Botanic Gardens, Rolleston Ave, Christchurch 

Explore how Matariki connects to the environment by journeying through the stars of Matariki and Puanga in these self-guided trails. 

Sunday 12th July 6:30 am – 8:30 am, Rongoa Garden, 565R Marshlands Road, Styx, Christchurch

Sunday 12th July 2020 10:00am – 12:00pm, Styx River, 303 Radcliffe Road, Belfast, Christchurch

Friday 17th July 2020 10:00 am – 12:00 pm, West Broken Run Reserve, 298 Wigram Road, Wigram, Christchurch

Join rongoā practitioners as they celebrate Matariki and puaka rising to signal the Maori New Year. Christchurch City Council has created multiple events for families gathering together to plant native trees and shrubs into their gardens. Remember to dress warmly and wear sturdy footwear, and please bring your drink bottle.

There are marea (many) ways to celebrate Matariki 2020. But whatever you do, ensure that it’s a celebration for you and your whānau.