Frequently Asked

Who is the lead Government agency for Matariki?

From 2023, responsibility for Matariki transferred from the Office for Māori Crown Relations – Te Arawhiti to Manatū Taonga the Ministry for Culture and Heritage.

Is Te Arawhiti still administering the Matariki Ahunga Nui fund?

No. Funding for Matariki events was also transferred to Manatū Taonga. More information regarding the details of this fund are available on the Manatū Taonga Website

What is Professor Rangiānehu Matamua’s role?

On 1 November 2022, then Associate Minister of Arts, Culture and Heritage, Hon Kiritapu Allan, appointed Professor Rangi Matamua as the Chief Advisor, Mātauranga Matariki, who receives operational support through Manatū Taonga.

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

There are nine stars in the Matariki cluster, 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

Why did the Government create a new public holiday to celebrate Matariki?

Matariki 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. The Matariki public holiday is an ongoing opportunity for people across Aotearoa to seek to understand, learn, and celebrate the importance of Māori world view and knowledge. The main motivation behind making Matariki a public holiday was to honour Māori culture, particularly the acknowledgement of Māori as Treaty of Waitangi partners.

When did the Matariki Public Holiday Act pass?

The third reading of the bill was on 07 April 2022 and received royal assent on 11 April 2022.

What’s the significance of the Matariki legislation?

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.

Where can I get more information about Matariki?

What date is the Matariki holiday?

The Matariki public holiday will always fall on a Friday. This year the Matariki holiday will be on Friday 28 June 2024. 

The inaugural date was Friday 24 June 2022. Last year the Matariki public holiday was held on Friday 14 July 2023

The Government last year announced the dates for the Matariki public holiday for the next 30 years.

Why have different dates been chosen?

The calendar date for the Matariki public holiday will shift each year to align with the maramataka (Māori stellar-lunar calendar).

The Gregorian calendar is based on the earth’s orbit around the sun, whilst the maramataka is also based on the phases of the moon and the appearance of different stars. The Gregorian calendar date for the Matariki public holiday will shift every year to align with the Māori stellar-lunar calendar system, in a similar manner to how we currently celebrate Easter.  

Different iwi have distinct approaches to calculating the timing of the Māori New Year.

What was the role of the Matariki Advisory Group?

The Matariki Advisory Group was established by Government in 2020 to advise Ministers on when and how the Matariki public holiday should be celebrated. 

The Group was brought together to ensure that mātauranga Māori was at the heart of decision-making about the Matariki public holiday, so that our celebrations will support and promote greater awareness and appreciation of te ao Māori. 

The Group’s members are from diverse rohe, ensuring that the mātauranga of iwi from across Aotearoa is represented.

Why was a Matariki Advisory Group needed?

Given the significance of Matariki to Māori, we wanted to ensure mātauranga Māori was at the heart of decision-making about this new holiday. 

The members of the Advisory Group are all recognised experts in te ao Māori and the maramataka and have been best placed to determine when and how the Matariki public holiday should be celebrated.

Which Ministers were responsible for forming the Matariki Advisory Group?

The Minister for Māori Crown Relations: Te Arawhiti, Hon Kelvin Davis and the Minister for Workplace Relations and Safety, Hon Michael Wood formed the Group as joint Ministers.

Why did the Government establish a Matariki Advisory Group?

To determine when and how Aotearoa New Zealand will celebrate Matariki together as a public holiday from 2022 and for the next 30 years.

Who were the members appointed to the Matariki Advisory Group?

  • Professor Rangiānehu Matamua, Chair
  • Hoturoa Barclay-Kerr
  • Rereata Makiha
  • Victoria Campbell
  • Dr Pauline Harris
  • Dr Ruakere Hond, and 
  • Jack Thatcher.

What did the Matariki Advisory Group do?

They determined that 24 June 2022 was the date for the inaugural Matariki Day, provided an annual calendar for this holiday for the next 30 years to 2052, and determined how best to celebrate Matariki by marking its importance in an appropriate manner.

They established the major principles and values that guide and underpin not just how we celebrate Matariki during this public holiday, but importantly reflect the mātauranga Māori from which understanding of Matariki is derived.

Their advice from the Group is enshrined in the Act.

Does the Matariki Advisory Group still exist today?

No, each members term of eighteen months has now expired.