Frequently Asked

What is the Matariki public holiday?

The Matariki cluster of stars heralds the start of the Māori New Year and is a time of celebration and reflection for many people across Aotearoa New Zealand. Matariki is a public holiday that distinctly recognises and celebrates Te Ao Māori and presents an ongoing opportunity to understand, learn, and celebrate the importance of Māori worldview and knowledge.

How can I celebrate Matariki?

Matariki is about reconnecting and this year’s theme “Matariki heri kai – the Feast of Matariki” has a focus on food. If you’re able to, return home and encourage your whānau (family) and friends to do the same. Having a kaitahi (shared meal) with your loved ones is a convenient way to connect and celebrate your past and future. For more ideas on how to celebrate Matariki, check out:

Te Papa’s Guide to Celebrating Matariki at Home.

How many stars are in the Matariki cluster and what are their names?

The Matariki cluster contains a total of nine stars, but in certain areas iwi will recognise seven stars in their celebrations. Matariki is the mother, and the other stars are her children:

  • Tupuānuku is associated with food from the ground
  • Tupuārangi is associated with food found in the tops of the trees
  • Waitī is associated with freshwater and water creatures
  • Waitā is associated with food harvested from the sea
  • Waipunarangi is associated with the rain
  • Ururangi is associated with nature and the winds
  • Pōhutukawa connects Matariki to those who have passed
  • Hiwa-i-te-rangi the wishing star that we send our dreams and desires to

What date do we celebrate Matariki?

The calendar date for the Matariki public holiday will shift each year to align with the maramataka (Māori stellar-lunar calendar) but will always fall on a Friday. This year the Matariki holiday will be on Friday 28 June 2024.  

The Gregorian calendar date for the Matariki public holiday will shift every year to align with the Māori stellar-lunar calendar system. A Māori Advisory Group consisting of mātauranga Māori experts from across Aotearoa determined when and how the Matariki public holiday should be celebrated, and provided the celebration dates up until 2052.

Where can I find information on the legislation behind the holiday?

Te Ture mō te Hararei Tūmatanui o te Kāhui o Matariki 2022/ Te Kāhui o Matariki Public Holiday Act 2022 (the Act) received royal assent on 11 April 2022. The content of the Matariki legislation is deeply grounded in mātauranga Māori. The Act is entirely dual language, written in both te reo Māori and English – which is an important acknowledgement of the growing maturity of Aotearoa New Zealand. This is our country’s fifth piece of legislation in te reo Māori and English.

What is Professor Rangiānehu Mātāmua’s role?

As Chief Advisor Mātauranga Matariki, Professor Mātāmua’s role is to be a national advocate and spokesperson. His role is to provide enduring support, advice and guidance to ensure the Matariki public holiday is embedded into New Zealand’s culture with its own unique identity and distinctive traditions.

Where can I get more information about Matariki?

Is Matariki for everyone?

Yes. Different forms of Matariki exist across many cultures, but our particular Matariki celebration is unique to Aotearoa New Zealand. The Matariki principles of Remembrance, Celebrating the Present and Looking to the Future are inclusive of all peoples, and the traditional practice of returning home, reconnecting with your whānau and friends, and feasting make Matariki a holiday that all New Zealanders and manuhiri (visitors) to Aotearoa can embrace and celebrate.