Days in the Māori lunar month

Discover the days of the Māori lunar month, and the activities related to them.

The maramataka (Māori seasonal calendar) is based on 12 lunar months. The cycle begins with the new moon. There are 30 nights in each cycle: Whiro is the first night of the new moon, Tirea is the second night and so on until Mutuwhenua, the last night. The cycle starts again with the appearance of the next new moon, with Whiro, Tirea, and so forth.

The following names for the days of the lunar month have been taken from the almanacs of a number of iwii tribes. The differences are only in the sequence of the phases. As many names were similar, the Māori Language Commission decided to use those employed by the majority.

Whiro

The moon enters a new phase. An unfavourable day for planting food and fishing. A good night for taking eels.

Tirea

A reasonably good night for crayfishing, eeling, and planting food. A good day for collecting shellfish.

Hoata

A very good day for eeling, crayfishing, planting kūmara, and sowing seed crops.

Ōue

A good day for establishing tuber beds, planting food, and fishing.

Ōkoro

Another good day for planting food. Fish are restless.

Tamatea-kai-ariki

A day for planting food. West winds prevail that only rain will quell.

Tamatea-ā-ngana

Eels are voracious feeders this night. A good day for planting food and fishing, but beware fog and a foaming sea.

Tamatea-āīō

Eels, fish, and kūmara are abundant but small. A productive day for collecting shellfish. Fishermen, beware!

Tamatea-whakapau

A favourable day for planting food from morning to midday. Not very good for fishing.

Ariro

A disagreeable day, one for marking time.

Huna

Do not plant food. Not a good day for fishing. Eels and crayfish are wary.

Māwharu

A most favourable day for planting food. Kūmara are large but rot quickly. A good day for fishing. A good night for trapping crayfish and eels.

Ōhua

A very good day for planting food.

Atua whakahaehae

Not a good day for planting food or fishing.

Ōturu

A good day for bobbing eels. A good day for fishing and for planting food from midday to sundown.

Rākaunui

A very good day. Crops are bountiful. A good day for fishing but not eeling.

Rākaumatohi

A very good day for fishing but not eeling. Seed plants grow vigorously.

Takirau

The moon is faintly visible and hazy. Food is bountiful but small in size.

Ōike

Not a good day for fishing or planting food.

Korekore te whiwhia

An unproductive night on the shore. Winds sweep the seas.

Korekore te rawea

Not a fruitful night. Food is scarce, but await the turn of the tide.

Korekore piri ki Tangaroa

A good day from midday to sundown. A productive period for taking eels, trapped or otherwise. Most foods are plentiful.

Tangaroa-ā-mua

A good day for planting food, fishing, and eeling.

Tangaroa-ā-roto

Productive days for fishing and planting food.

Tangaroa-whakapau

A good day for fishing and the cultivation of seed beds.

Tangaroa-ā-kiokio

A very good day for taking eels, fishing, and setting crayfish and eel baskets.

Ōtāne

A good day for fishing, eeling, and crayfishing. A reasonably good day for planting food.

Ōrongonui

A very productive day for planting food, fishing, and eeling.

Mauri

Not a productive day. Food is scarce. Fish are restless and turn tail.

Mutuwhenua

Unproductive, day and night. The moon has diminished, and the world is now in total darkness.