Matariki 2019

Connect – Reflect – Celebrate – Plan – Act

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.

Reimana Tutengaehe, a tutor in Te Puna Wānaka at Ara, shares that “Matariki is about a lifecycle really. Traditionally speaking when Matariki first begins we farewell the dead, and then we look up to each star in the constellation to acknowledge how they correspond to our natural environment. So traditionally, Maori would use the stars to determine if it was going to be a good year for fishing, or for crops and harvest…”

[From Ara Institute of Canterbury. 2018. Reflecting, reconnecting and stargazing: Matariki makes its mark at Ara ]

You can visit our Te Ao Māori Subject Guide for more resources on Matariki.

Significant dates of Matariki in 2019

  • 27th May – Matariki sets
  • 25th-28th June – Matariki rises
  • 25th June – 3rd July – The period over which the stars of Matariki are observed
  • 24th June – 5th July – The period when Ara will celebrate Matariki

The nine stars of Matariki

Māori observed the nine visible stars of Matariki during the long dark nights of winter looking for signs of the coming season.

At the same time, Māori personified the nine stars of Matariki to provide us with a framework for thinking about the world around us and what we would do over the coming year.

Who are the stars and how do they help us?

MATARIKI – the personification of Mother & Nurturer
Matariki brings people together, connecting them with each other and their world.

TUPU-Ā-NUKU – the personification of Edible Plants
Healthy plants need healthy soils. Can you compost food scraps at home? What about a worm farm?

TUPU-Ā-RANGI – the personification of Forests
Pests and predators destroy our forests. Did you know feral cats are a major threat to native birds, insects and trees?

WAI-PUNA-Ā-RANGI – the personification of Sky Waters
Have you noticed the big changes in climate? Does it rain more or less now than when you were young? How long before the sea-level will reach your home?

WAI-TĪ – the personification of Freshwater
Why are other countries bottling our water? What’s wrong with theirs? Is our water actually that clean?

WAI-TĀ – the personification of Oceans
Did you know that fish think plastic is food, then eat it, then die? Can you commit to reduce or stop using plastic? What other options already exist?

URURANGI – the personification of Winds
Did you know windmills were used in China over 4000 years ago? We need more non-polluting and renewable sources of energy like wind.

PŌHUTUKAWA – the personification of those passed on.
Have you lost anyone this past year? What influence did they have on your life? How can you keep their legacy alive?

HIWA-I-TE-RANGI – the personification of Dreams & Aspirations
What do you want to achieve over the next year? Plan now how you will make that happen.

Matariki at Ara

There will be lots happening at Ara to reflect and connect around Matariki. Watch your My Ara app to see what’s on offer and look out for the Matariki Star Making activity in the Library. You can also visit our Matariki page in Te Ao Māori Subject Guide for more resources on Matariki.


[Image owned by Ara Institute of Canterbury]




Video of our NZ Sign Language Week performance goes viral!

There was magic in the air as NASDA students performed a song for New Zealand Sign Language Week in May, alongside NZSL interpreter Phoebe Leyton.

Now a video of the performance, which was organised by Ara library, has gone viral with over 27,000 views on Facebook. It’s not surprising the moving performance by the talented NASDA chorus, brought to life by Leyton’s expressive interpretation, has found wide appeal. There has been overwhelming positive feedback for the video from the Deaf community, who enjoyed watching this accessible musical recital.

We want to thank Phoebe Leyton and the NASDA students again for sharing their skill and passion with us. Check it out for yourself here in this new youtube version:

Database, n. /ˈdeɪtəbeɪs/: A structured set of data held in computer storage.



I have been accused of always having to have the last word. Well I can assure you that is not the case. The only one who gets to have the final word is the Oxford English Dictionary, which is considered the definitive record of the English language. The last English word according to them is: Zyzzyva, which is a form of weevil found in South America. How do you pronounce it? Well they do have a pronunciation guide on the site, but I must admit I am still at a loss. So, I can’t have the last word as I can’t even spell it let alone say it. My innocence is confirmed.

The Oxford English Dictionary is just one of many Ara Library databases that can help you with your learning. They range in content from online interactive encyclopedias like Britannica to profession specific conglomerations (look it up) of full text research journals like CINAHL and Engineering Source. These databases are the best ways to find authoritative words turned into information that will make your tutor smile.

The Oxford English Dictionary has a “Word of the Day” on its website. Today’s word was Nebby which is a Scottish word for being inquisitive and nosy. So, I encourage you to get nebby today and see how our databases can help you. There are many more important words to be discovered, all of which promise to be more useful than the last word.

This guest blog has been brought to you by Colleen Finnerty, Knowledge Advisor