Open daily, 10am–5pm, Free

419 Great King Street Dunedin, New Zealand

Puaka Matariki

Matariki 2022 2

The maramataka (lunar calendar) measures time based on the movement of celestial bodies in Aotearoa’s skies. 

For many iwi, the rising of the star Puaka and the Matariki cluster in the midwinter sky just before sunrise signals the end of one full cycle of the seasons and the beginning of the next. 

Puaka is the principal new year star of Kāi Tahu, Rēkohu, and some West Coast iwi, whereas the star cluster Matariki marks the beginning of the new year for other iwi of Aotearoa.  

The start of the new year occurs in the cold months when people shelter together, living off the harvest of the warmer months. The Puaka Matariki period is traditionally a time of celebration and feasting marked by: 

  • Remembering those who have passed away  
  • Sharing knowledge through discussions, storytelling, performance, and games 
  • Making plans to ensure the future wellbeing of the community 

Observations of Puaka and Matariki enabled tohuka kōkōraki (astronomy experts) to make predictions about the coming year, particularly regarding weather patterns and mahika kai (food gathering practices).