Matariki is a traditional time for many iwi (Māori tribes) to celebrate the beginning of each new year. The Matariki star cluster is more commonly known throughout the world as Pleiades or Messier 45 (M45). In Hawaii, it is known as Makali’i and in Japan it is called Subaru. Eventhough Matariki is close to Earth it is still 440 light years away. According to Te Papa’s website, this means that, if you could drive a car at a speed of 100 kilometres an hour, you would arrive at Matariki in 4.8 billion years!
Many iwi talk about the seven Matariki stars being Matariki, the mother and her six daughters, Tupu-a-nuku, Tupu-ā-rangi, Waipunarangi, Waitī, Waitā and Ururangi. Te Papa has information on one of the most popular legends of Matariki and the six sisters.
You can see Matariki from early June before sunrise. Why not come along to the Dawn rising – Celestial observation on Friday 15 June and join other Ara students and staff on top of the Port Hills to see Matariki rising on the eastern horizon.
In the Library on Wednesday 13 June look out for our Matariki star making lunchtime activities.
Resources on Matariki in our library include: