Watch: How to find the Matariki star cluster
Mātakina: Me pēhea e kitea ai a Matariki

Educator Martin Langdon shows us how to find the Matariki star cluster during the Māori New Year, which falls in the month of Pipiri (June–July).

Transcript

"Kia ora koutou. I'm going to show you how to find Matariki by using stars and constellations to help you point the way.

In the month of Pipiri, which is June – July, the star cluster Matariki rises in the Northeast, which is used to signify the coming of the Māori New Year. 

We are going to start here with Māhutonga, which is also known as the Southern Cross, found on lots of things like our flag.

During the time of Matariki, you will find Māhutonga upside down to look more like an anchor.

We're going to track east from this constellation along our journey to find Matariki.

As we track along, we should find the brightest star in our sky Hinetakurua, also known as The Winter Maiden.

As we continue in the same direction we will come across three bright stars in a row known as Tautoru.

Some people see the bottom of a pot, others see Orion's belt, but we are going to imagine a bird perch or a paemanu, from which a bird is reaching up to pluck a significant star – puanga or puaka.

The star puanga is used by some iwiiwi tribes  to indicate the coming of the new year, instead of the star cluster Matariki.

To find Matariki, we're going to use Tautoru to point us towards the direction we need to go, until we get to Matakāheru – a triangle-shaped constellation which is linked to a triangle-shaped tainui spade of the same name.

Now just off its shoulder, we will see a bright cluster of stars, this is Matariki. With a telescope we would be able to see hundreds of stars that make up the star cluster, but with the naked eye we can just point out about seven to nine of the brightest
stars.

This is what we know in AotearoaAotearoa New Zealand  as Matariki."