Hau Taki Haere: Te Iwa o Matariki.

Tertiary Update Vol 26 No 11

‍Matariki is a cluster of stars which is visible in our night sky at a specific time of the year. In 2022, Te Kāhui o Matariki | The Matariki constellation sets on 23 May, rises from 21-24 June, and the Matariki period is between 21 and 29 June.

Our tūpuna would look to Matariki for help with their harvesting of crops and other food sources.

When Matariki disappeared from the sky in April/May, it was time to preserve crops for the winter season. When it re-appeared in June/July, our tūpuna would read the stars to predict the upcoming season – clear and bright stars promised a warm and abundant winter while hazy stars warned of a bleak winter.

The Matariki cluster has nine visible stars. In Kaupapa Māori, each star within the Matariki cluster holds its own significance over our wellbeing and environment:

Matariki – Reflection, hope, and the connection, health, and wellbeing of people and our taiao.

Pōhutukawa – Those that have passed on since Matariki last rose.

Waitī – All freshwater bodies and the kai sources that are sustained by those wai Māori.

Waitā – The moana, and kai sources within it.

Waipuna-ā-Rangi – Association with rain.

Tupu-ā-Nuku – Everything that grows within the soil to be harvested or gathered for kai.

Tupu-ā-Rangi – Everything that grows up in the trees: fruits, berries, and birds.

Ururangi – Connection to the winds.

Hiwa-i-te-Rangi – Granting our wishes and realising our aspirations for the coming year.

Matariki is a time to celebrate new life, to remember those who’ve passed, and to plan for the future. In acknowledging our tūpuna and all of those who have come before us, we also recognise the shared history of Aotearoa New Zealand, as tangata whenua, Pākehā and tauiwi alike.

On Friday 24 June, Matariki will be celebrated as Aotearoa’s twelfth public holiday. It’s been a long time coming. First proposed by former Te Taura Whiri i Te Reo Māori CEO Haami Piripi back in 2006, and finally made law by the Te Kāhui o Matariki Public Holiday Bill on 12 April 2022, Matariki is the first of our public holidays to celebrate Te Ao Māori and Mātauranga Māori.

With the average number of statutory holidays celebrated around the world being eleven, it’s only right that Aotearoa has asserted ourselves as one of the best countries in the world to work in.

It’s now up to all of us as kiwis to take ownership of this day and see that it’s respected and celebrated in its true spirit and not commercialised.

This will be a wonderful occasion to greet our whānau, friends, colleagues, and fellow TEU members with the phrase – Mānawatia a Matariki – and use this time to celebrate with one another, show respect and thanks for our taiao and all it provides us, spend time with whānau and friends, and share kai, waiata/haka, whakapapa, and tākaro.

In keeping with the significance of the nine stars of Matariki, Te Hautū Kahurangi | Tertiary Education Union (TEU) has brought together nine Māori leaders, academics and general staff, and educators for a special Tertiary Update, Hau Taki Haere: Te Iwa o Matariki 2022.

Much like Te Kāhui o Matariki, each of the nine stories presented in Hau Taki Haere: Te Iwa o Matariki 2022 are unique, yet together they form one kaupapa, and share common themes of kotahitanga, mana, tikanga, and Mātauranga Māori.