Months of the Māori lunar calendar

The Māori calendar begins in June with the reappearance of the Matariki star cluster signalling the New Year.

In the traditional Māori maramataka, or calendar, the new year begins with the first new moon at the end of May or beginning of June. This is when the star cluster known as Matariki (The Pleiades) reappears on the eastern horizon.

In earlier times, each tribe had its own lore around Matariki. This lore was based on the tribe’s understanding of the stars and phases of the moon, and how these affected the rhythms of Papatūānuku (Mother Earth). Matariki was a time for considering how to protect and sustain resources from lakes, rivers and the sea, as well as birds, and wild food from the forest, like pikopiko (fern frond). It was a time for affirming the principles and protocols that taught people how to live in balance with the natural world.

 

Traditional Māori names for the lunar months

Direct translation

English

Pipiri

Hune

June

Hōngongoi

Hūrae

July

Here-turi-kōkā

Akuhata

August

Mahuru

Hepetema    

September       

Whiringa-ā-nuku

Oketopa

October

Whiringa-ā-rangi

Noema

November

Hakihea

Tihema

December

Kohi-tātea

Hānuere

January

Hui-tanguru

Pēpuere

February

Poutū-te-rangi

Maehe

March

Paenga-whāwhā

Āperira

April

Haratua

Mei

May