Matariki table setting

How to Celebrate Matariki

Mānawatia a Matariki – To Honour, Acknowledge, and Welcome Matariki! Matariki, the Māori New Year, is just around the corner (June 28th)! It’s a time of reflection and celebration. Matariki provides an opportunity to come together with loved ones to reflect on the past, celebrate the present, and look to the future. The three key principles of Matariki are:

1. Matariki Hunga Nui – Remembrance

Honouring those we have lost since the last rising of Matariki.

2. Matariki Ahunga Nui – Celebrating the Present

Gathering together to give thanks for what we have.

3. Matariki Manako Nui

Looking forward to the promise of a new year.

Here at Ribbon and Blues, we’ve been having some fun coming up with ideas on how to inspire you to create a memorable Matariki celebration! If you’re wondering how to celebrate Matariki, this post will provide inspiration and ideas.

The Meaning and Symbolism of Matariki

Matariki has held immense cultural significance for Māori for centuries. Its annual reappearance in the night sky marked the start of the new year and the beginning of the Māori lunar calendar. Traditionally, this celestial event signalled a time for communities to come together, share stories, give thanks, and look ahead with hope and aspirations for the future. At the heart of Matariki there is a symbolism that connects Māori to the natural world and the celestial realm. The nine stars of the Matariki constellation have their own characteristics that is acknowledged and honoured by Māori:

1.  Matariki – Alcyone

Signifies hope, gathering of people, reflection, health, well-being, and our connection to nature.

2. Pōhutukawa – Sterope/Asterope

Connects us to those we love who have now passed on.

3. Waitī – Maia

Represents all bodies of fresh water and the food and sustenance that comes from these waters.

4. Waitā – Taygeta

Represents the ocean and all forms of life within it.

5. Waipuna-ā-rangi – Electra

Symbolises rain and water, essential for growth.

6. Tipuānuku – Pleione

Represents food cultivated on the land.

7. Tipuārangi – Atlas

Linked to birds as well as other foods such as fruits and berries which come from above.

8. Ururangi – Merope

Symbolises the winds, which assist in agriculture and navigation.

9. Hiwa-i-te-rangi – Celaeno

Wish upon this star. It represents the dreams and aspirations placed upon the new year.

Keeping the meaning of Matariki in mind when planning your festivities is central to how to celebrate Matariki. 

Setting the Table for Togetherness at Matariki

Creating an inviting atmosphere is key when celebrating Matariki. Paying attention to your table setting is essential! Incorporate elements that pay homage to Māori culture and traditions, such as woven mats, tukutuku panels (ornamental lattice-work), or carved wooden pieces. Use colours on your table setting that symbolise Matariki, we’ve chosen to use colours such as navy blue, neutrals, and metallic shades. Use natural materials like greenery, wood carvings, and woven fabrics. Embrace the spirit of Matariki with centrepieces made from locally sourced seasonal fruits, vegetables, and foliage. Incorporate traditional Māori weaving techniques or motifs into placemats, napkin rings, or a table runner.

Matariki gifting

Sharing Love From Afar

Sometimes, distance can keep loved ones apart during special occasions such as Matariki. If this is the case for your family or friends this year, then sending thoughtful gifts can help them feel involved in the celebration. Simple gestures like beautifully packaged boxes or baskets with traditional elements can be a meaningful way to celebrate Matariki from a distance.

Matariki table setting

Decorations and Personalised Touches

Enhance the ambiance of your Matariki celebration with decorations that capture the spirit of the event. Star-shaped elements, warm lighting, and personalised touches like name cards or favours can add a special touch to the occasion while connecting to the themes of Matariki. You can even get the kids involved by making sparkly star-shaped decorations, cards, and drawings. These hand-made small favours for loved ones can be a great way to celebrate Matariki and get everyone involved!

Mānawatia a Matariki – To Honour, Acknowledge, and Welcome Matariki!

As Matariki approaches, use the opportunity to gather with your whānau and friends and celebrate the past, present, and future together. If you’ve been wondering what the occasion is all about and how to celebrate Matariki, we hope we’ve been able to shed some light and inspire! By paying attention to your table settings, creating meaningful gifts, incorporating on-theme touches, and making personalised moments, you can elevate your Matariki celebrations. Sharing stories and legends during Matariki with family and friends is another traditional Matariki activity. If you’re wanting to do this then click here to learn all about the legend of Matariki.

Embracing Traditions for a Memorable Matariki

So, this year get involved in the this special time and learn a bit more about the cultural tapestry of New Zealand. How to celebrate Matariki? Reflect on the year that has passed, express gratitude with your loved ones, and welcome in the Māori New Year. May this Matariki be a time of connection, joy, and shared experiences that resonate with the true meaning of this special occasion.

Have a great Matariki and a relaxing, safe long weekend!

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