Garrick Cooper (Ngāti Ranginui, Ngāti Whanaunga) shares his perspective on Pōhutukawa the star in the Matariki cluster associated with those that have passed on since Matariki last rose.

Pōhutukawa is the star within the Matariki cluster related to death. We take time to remember those that have passed on. But, somewhat paradoxically, in the act of remembering those that have passed and are perhaps of the past, we are making them completely present.

For me then, death is not cloaked with the finality, in the way that prevailing views of death mark the end of life. Rather death is the moment that life also begins, even if only as a groan in the night.

Moana Jackson says that “Whakapapa became a series of never-ending beginnings where the nature and effect of relationships crossed from the past into the future”. For Moana, whakapapa is a constant source of new life – a puna – of endless beginnings, yet we often cast whakapapa as a record of the past.

Here he demonstrates that the past and the future is meaningless within Te Ao Māori as we constantly make these things present.

Matariki then offers us a moment for introspection and reflection, to acknowledge that which is present in our world and how those things are, as Māori Marsden said, from the intricately woven universe in which we exist.