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Songs that celebrate Matariki: Ngā Whetū

Ngā Whetū

By Hīrini Melbourne

Hora ngā whetū, ki te Marae-nui-ātea
Tītiti tātai, ki te Uma o Ranginui
Mai te Kete o Te Hāruru, ko Te Whānau Mārama
Poutini, Tautoru, Rēhua, Matariki, Kōpū, Whānui, Autahi, Te Mangoroa (Te Mangoroa)
(Hikitia te mana, te reo, te rangatahi.)
He ara ki runga rā, ki Te Whānau o te Kahurangi
Hikitia te mana tū te ihi e
Rere ana te wehiwehi, Tū Tāngata e
Rere ana te wehiwehi, Tū Tāngata e!

The stars connect to the great courtyard of space
Carefully arranged across the chest of Ranginui
From the basket of Te Hāruru, came the Family of Light  
Poutini, Tautoru, Rēhua, Matariki, Kōpū, Whānui, Autahi, Te Mangoroa (Te Mangoroa)
(Young people, rise up, stand strong.)
A pathway to ascend to the Family of the Cloaked Blue Sky
Rise up, stand strong
Embrace the awesomeness, stand proud!
Embrace the brilliance, stand proud!

About this waiata

This waiata also comes from Te Aute College, a boys’ only Māori boarding school in Pukehou, Hawke’s Bay. At Te Aute the students belong to different ‘houses’ within the school. The houses compete against each other in the school’s annual house kapa haka competition. In the early 1980s, Te Awanui Timutimu taught this waiata to students in Ngarimu House to use in the competition. 

The song talks about the heavens, star connections, and constellations, including the Matariki star cluster. This inspirational song helps us remember to look skywards and be mindful of our place in the universe.