Mānawatia a Matariki

Happy Māori New Year

Matariki is a very special time. It is a time to reflect, observe the stars, and share delicious food with whānau (family) and friends with an eye to the future.   

Celebrated in late June or early July, Matariki marks the Māori New Year with the rise of the Pleiades star cluster. This year the public holiday in New Zealand is observed on June 28.

The Matariki constellation is visible in the southern hemisphere between May and July, and its appearance in the winter sky heralds a time of renewal and reflection. Māori also used the stars for navigation and to determine the best time to plant and harvest crops.

Matariki festivities in New Zealand include community gatherings, shared meals, waiata (song) and traditional ceremonies. With aroha (love), manaakitanga (caring) and kotahitanga (unity) key values connected to Matariki, it is also a time to remember those who have passed and to prepare for the future.

In 2022, Matariki became an official public holiday, reflecting its significance in the community and its ability to bring different cultures together.


Te Ao Māori at the heart of Te Arawhata

The visitor experience created by Wētā Workshop for Te Arawhata is framed by Te Ao Māori (the Māori world view).

Te Arawhata, which is te reo Māori for The Ladder, is a large-scale centrepiece of the museum. The ladder represents a pathway to a higher level of knowledge as visitors ascend to the second level of the museum which includes a remembrance wall inspired by Māori tukutuku panels where visitors leave written messages. 

Testament to the depth of this commitment to Te Ao Māori, the museum was honoured to be blessed by Te Rūnanga o Ngāti Waewae during the official opening of the museum on October 12, 2023.

Te Rūnanga o Ngāti Waewae donated the pounamu cleansing stone which greets visitors at the entrance to the museum.

This landmark blessing strengthened cultural connections between Māori, France, and those who visit the museum.

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