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Some iwiiwi tribes celebrate Puanga rather than Matariki. Che Wilson of Whanganui iwi explains why this is the case, and which iwi celebrate Puanga.
‘Ko Puanga te pae ārahi i ngā tohu o te tau hou i te pae ururangi'
– 'Puanga leads the celestial signs to herald the New Year.’
All iwi celebrate the Māori New Year in June or July, but not all iwi refer specifically to this time of year as Matariki. Instead, other iwi will name this time of year ‘Puanga’.
Puanga is given prominence mainly because some iwiiwi tribes struggle to see Matariki clearly from their locality and therefore look to the next important star near Matariki. That star is Puanga.
This is not a rejection of Matariki as many of these iwi will still refer to Matariki and the other names in the constellation in their tribal narratives, however Puanga is given preference.
The tribes of Whanganui, Taranaki, parts of the Far North, and parts of the South Island recognise Puanga.
Puanga is the star Rigel and is the brightest star in the Orion constellation. Matariki is seen below Puanga and to the left of Tautoru (the three stars of Orion’s Belt) in the late autumn and early winter night sky.
The most common whakataukīwhakataukī proverb that recognises the importance of Puanga is:
‘Puanga kai rau' – 'The abundant harvest of Puanga.’
This whakataukī connects Puanga and Matariki celebrations to the result of hard work over a number of months. It recognises the efforts of growing, harvesting, and storing food for the long nights of takuruatakurua winter as TamanuiterāTamanuiterā sun god returns to his first wife HinetakuruaHinetakurua winter maiden.
This union results in short days and long nights over the winter months. However, every year Māui recaptures Tamanuiterā, and he then marries his second wife HineraumatiHineraumati summer maiden where the nights are short and the days are long as a result of summer – so it could be argued that Māui is the founder of daylight savings.
Puanga isn’t celebrated over one or two days, instead it is a period of approximately a month or longer with at least two months of preparation followed by two months of wānanga (learning).
The first new moon in the month of Pipiri (June-July) is the period when stars like Puanga, Matariki and WhānuiWhānui Vega set. This time is a chance to reflect on the past year and to remember your loved ones.
Puanga and Matariki then rises again in a fortnight in the eastern sky, this is the time to acknowledge the rising of our loved ones that have passed so that their spirits become stars and to prepare for the celebrations of the New Year.
The appropriate time to commence celebrations is based on the nights of abundance for your locality and some will recognise the nights of RākauRākau full moon and others, the nights of Tangaroa – one week after full moon. This is to ensure that any food available is in abundance so that the hākarihākari feast dedicated and celebrated in the name of Puanga is recognised appropriately.
The kererū kererū wood pigeonis synonymous with Puanga kai rau (noted above) because during this time of year the kererū is fat after eating the miro and tawa berries. The large amount of berries ferment in the bird’s stomach causing drunkenness – making the kererū very easy to catch.
This meant kererū were the food of choice during Puanga celebrations. The first bird was always given to the senior women of the whānau.
The stomach of the kererū were also fed to expecting mothers to help quell any food cravings and to ensure that mother and unborn child were given the most nutritious foods.
Puanga is also a time to prepare the māramāra garden and ensure that winter frosts will help to kill any weeds or soil infections.
This time is likened to, and re-enacts, the creation period of Te Kore (the void/potential) and once the land has been treated, it will then go through a period of Te Pō (the night – or a time to plant). Then as the shoots of the food sprout above the soil, the plants transition into Te Ao Mārama (the world of light).
Like Matariki, Puanga is a time of reflection, preparation, learning, and celebration.Close English text
Ki tā ētehi, ehara a Matariki i te tohu o te tau, ko Puanga kē. Anei ētehi whakamārama nā Che Wilson o Whanganui iwi mō ngā iwi e whai i ngā tohutohu o Puanga.
‘Ko Puanga te pae ārahi i ngā tohu o te tau i te pae ururangi.’
Kua rangona nuitia ngā marama o Hune me te Hūrae ki te whakanui i te tau hou Māori. Heoi, ki tā ētehi iwi ehara a Matariki i te tohu o te tau, ko Puanga kē te tohu o te tau.
Ki tā ētehi iwi, ka whai mana ake a Puanga i a Matariki i te mea tē taea te kite i te kāhui Matariki i aua takiwā. Nā tēnā, ka kimi i tētehi atu whetū matua kei taua wāhi i te rangi, koia ko Puanga.
Ehara i te mea ka whakakore i te mana o Matariki nā te mea ka kōrero tonu mō taua kāhui engari ka noho a Puanga hei tohu mō te tau hou Māori ki aua takiwā.
Ko ngā iwi o Whanganui, o Taranaki, ngā wāhanga o te Taitokerau me te Wai Pounamu hoki e whai ana i ngā tohutohu o Puanga.
Ko te ingoa Pākehā mō Puanga, ko Rigel. Koia tētehi o te kāhui o Orion. A, hei ngā pō o te Ngāhuru, ko Puanga kei runga ake o Tautoru (ko ngā whetū e toru o te tātua o Orion), a, ko Matariki kei te taha uru o Tautoru.
Ko te whakataukī rongonui e hāngai ana ki te mana o Puanga, koia ko:
‘Puanga kai rau – arā ko nga hua matomato o Puanga.’
E hono kau ana tēnei tū kōrero ki a Puanga rāua tahi ko Matariki me ngā mahi hauhake māra kai, kohikohi kai hoki i ngā marama mō mua tonu i te tau hou. A, e anga atu ana te whakaaro ki ngā pō roa o te Takurua me te hokinga o Tamanuiterā ki tōna punatahi (wahine tuatahi) ki a Hinetakurua.
Ko te tūturutanga o tēnei tū hononga, arā ka poto ngā rā, ka roa hoki ngā pō hei tohu kua tau mai te makariri me ngā āhuatanga o te Takurua. Heoi, ia tau ka hoki anō a Māui ki te hopu i a Tamanuiterā kia hono anō ki tōna punarua (wahine tuarua) ki a Hineraumati kia roa ngā rā, a, kia poto ngā pō inā ngā tohu o te Raumati. E hua ana, nā Māui tēnei mea te ‘daylight savings.’
Ehara i te mea kia kotahi, kia rua noa ngā rā, ngā pō rānei hei whakanui i a Puanga engari hei te takiwā o te kotahi marama neke atu ki te rua marama kē te roa me te mōhio tonu, he rua marama mō mua ki te whakariterite, a, he rua marama anō ka whai ake ki te wānanga.
Hei te takiwā o te pō o Whiro i te Kotahi o Pipiri (arā te Hune ki te Hūrae) te wā ka tō ngā whetū pērā ki a Puanga, a Matariki, a Whānui (arā ko Vega tēnā) hoki. Koianei te wā me whakaaro atu ki te hunga kua riro ki te pō.
Ka rua wiki pea te roa o te moe a Puanga, a, ka ara anō a Puanga i te rāwhiti. Tērā te wā ka tāpiki atu ngā mate o te tau kua hipa hei whetū i te rangi. A, koinei hoki te wā me āta whakariterite ki te whakanui i te tau hou.
Ko te wā tika me whakanuia e tātau i a Puanga, ko ngā pō e matomato ai ngā tupu o te whenua me te wai, inā ko ngā pō o Rākau (ko Rākaunui me Rākaumatohe) rānei, ko ngā pō o Tangaroa (he kotahi wiki a muri atu i a Rākaunui) rānei. Ko te take e pēnei nei ana, kia huhua te kai, kia nui te hākari ki te whakanui i te huringa tau me te mana o Puanga.
E hāngai pū ana te whakataukī nei a Puanga kai rau ki te manu rangatira, ki te kererū i te mea koianei te wā e mōmona ana i te kai miro me te kai tawa. Nā te kaihoro, ka āhua haurangi te kererū me te taumaha, koia e hoihoi ai te kapakapa o tōna rere, a, ka māmā noa te hopu i ēnei tū manu.
Nā ēnei tū āhuatanga me te nui o te kiko o tēnei manu i rangatira ai te kererū hei kai matua mō Puanga. A, ko te tikanga me hoatu te manu tuatahi o te tau ki te ruahine, ki te kaumātua wahine o te whānau.
A, ka whāngaia ngā wāhine e hapū ana ki te puku o te kererū hei whakatau i te hiakai me te tuku i ngā kai huhua ki te whaea me tōna rea e tupu ana i tōna kōpū.
Ko tētehi kaupapa matua hei tēnei wāhanga o te tau ko te whakarite i te māra kai. Ka hurihia te oneone, a, whakamāngia te whenua e te taonga o te kōpaka kia mate ai nga tarutaru.
Etia nei ko ēnei mahi māra ko te whakatīnanatanga o waihangatanga mai o te ao tūroa nei, inā, ko Te Kore ko te whakariterite i te māra kai, ko Te Pō ko te whakatau i te purapura, katahi ka tupu, ka toru ki runga ka puta te tupu ki te ao tūroa, me kī, kua puta te tupu ki Te Ao Mārama.
Ko Puanga, ko Matariki, e rua, e rua. He wā hokinga mahara, he wā whakariterite mō te tau e tata ana, he wā ki te wānanga, a, he wā whakanui i ngā kaupapa ā-tāngata.Close te reo Māori text