How to celebrate Matariki at home Me pēhea te whakanui i a Matariki i te kāinga

The Matariki star cluster appears in the east in the month of Pipiri (June–July) before the sun rises, marking the start of the Māori New Year. This is the coldest time of the year and Pipiri means ‘to draw close’, due to the cool temperature.

It’s a time where people, whānau, and communities gather together to remember the year that has passed, to celebrate the present, and to plan for the next year. It is a time to reflect on our loved ones who are no longer with us, to feast and celebrate with our relatives and friends, and to look towards the future and the hope of a season full of bounty.

1. Enjoy a mid-winter feast with friends and whānau

Traditionally, Matariki is a time to share kai that has been harvested and stored throughout the year. It’s too cold for planting or for other major work to take place, so people gather together, relax, eat, and enjoy good company.

2. Light a candle

Matariki is a time for reflection and to remember our loved ones who have passed during the year. Light a candle to remember the dead of the year and to honour their memory.

3. Write down your hopes, dreams, and aspirations for the year ahead

What do you want to achieve? What do you want to see? Record thoughts like these and return to them later – how did you do?  

4. Go outside!

Look up at the stars (can you see Matariki?). Go for a walk in your neighbourhood and get to know its streams, rivers, and trees. Listen to the birds.

5. Play games and tell stories

Matariki is about having fun with your loved ones. Learn to play mū tōrere, a Māori board game. Or make up a story to tell your whānau.

6. Organise a neighbourhood ritual

Come together with your community for a Matariki ritual that uses all the ideas above: Fire and warmth, food, reflection, hopes and dreams, stories, nature, and games.