How to host your own hautapu at home

Prepare your own hautapu ceremony at home with your whānau by following the steps below.

The whāngai i te hautapu ceremony is a great way to open up the New Year by gathering together with our whānau, remembering our loved ones, and looking to the promise of a New Year.

What is a hautapu?

It can be as simple or as elaborate as you want! You might decide to prepare an umu kohukohu whetū (hāngī), cook your kai in the oven, or even use a pot on a gas burner outside. The important thing is selecting the right kai for your hautapu, and making sure there’s steam to release.

Kai (food) at Te Papa’s Matariki hautapu, 2 Jul 2021. Photo by Wiremu Grace. Te Papa

Selecting the right kai

Before your hautapu you need to plan and prepare your kai.

Four stars of the Matariki cluster are connected to the kai that you will be cooking. Here are a few suggestions of what kai you might like to select for each star:

Tipuānuku: food from the earth

  • kūmara (traditionally these were selected)

  • rīwai | potato

  • kāreti | carrot

Tipuārangi: food from the sky

  • heihei | chicken

  • tītī | muttonbird

  • hua rākau | berries

Waitī: food from freshwater such as rivers

  • tuna | eel

  • kēwai | freshwater crayfish

  • wātakirihi | watercress

Waitā: food from the ocean

  • tāmure | snapper

  • any type of shellfish

  • karengo | seaweed

Preparing your umu or cooker

Once you’ve gathered your kai from the different domains you’ll want to place it all in your umu or pot. If you’re cooking it in the oven, use an oven tray and put tinfoil over the top to cook it.

You want to give yourself enough time for the kai to be cooked by the time Matariki is visible in the sky.

Commencement of your hautapu ceremony

Before the sun rises, gather everyone together and begin by reciting the Matariki karakia. There are 10 karakia to be recited, and each one has a specific purpose.

The order is as follows:

  • waere (a karakia to clear the area)

  • Pōhutukawa

  • Tipuānuku

  • Tipuārangi

  • Waitī

  • Waitā

  • Waipunarangi

  • Ururangi

  • Hiwa-i-te-rangi

  • Matariki

Download a booklet of karakia from

The karakia in the above booklet are a truncated version of a much larger ceremony that is conducted during the Māori New Year to acknowledge Matariki. Still, these karakia follow the same structure as the more elaborate ceremony, and they hold the same intent.

At the completion of the karakia to Pōhutukawa and the calling of the names, uncover your umu or pot to let the steam rise into the sky as an offering to Matariki.

The remaining karakia can then be recited to complete the ceremony.


This brings an end to the Matariki ceremony and it’s now time for celebrations and fun!

An appropriate haka to complete the ceremony and acknowledge the hautapu is the following:

E te kōkōmako e te kōkōmako
Ko te hautapu e rite ki te kai nā Matariki!
Tapa reireia koia tapa! Tapa konunua koiana tukua
Hī auē hī!

Mānawatia a Matariki!