What is Matariki?

Matariki is the Māori name for  a group of stars. The science name is the Pleiades and instead of ‘group’ they call it a star cluster. It signalled the start of the Māori New Year for some tribes. Maori people followed a lunar calendar. That means that the months were organised around the moon. Marama is the name for moon. That is why the calendar is called Maramataka.

When is Matariki?

Matariki appeared just before dawn in late May or early June. Different tribes celebrated Matariki at different times. Some celebrated when it was first seen. Some celebrated at the first new moon or full moon after the Matariki was seen. We now celebrate Matariki as the new Maori year, when the first full moon is seen.

How to find Matariki

Click on the picture to find out how to find it!


Screen Shot 2015-06-14 at 7.47.19 am

Find out about Matariki on te Ara:

Screen Shot 2015-06-14 at 3.29.10 am

The Myth of Matariki

The Seven Stars of Matariki

An author reads her story of the Seven Stars of Matariki


How to make a manu taratahi
Follow these instructions to make a triangular child’s kite:
Figure 1: Lay the feathered toetoe stalks on top of the unfeathered stalk as shown. Bind the stalks together with string.
Figure 2: Lace together dry raupō leaves in groups of six. Start at the wide end of the frame and tie the string to the middle stalk, then lace the leaves as shown. Tie off after the sixth leaf. Repeat this on the side stalks. Continue lacing groups of six until finished.
Figure 3: Balance the centre of the kite on a broom and trim the leaves. Attach the bridle.




Integrating Studies of Culture into Literacy

As part of the literacy programme for Middle School Children, Hub 6, comprised of four Year 3 and 4 classes, has been teaching guided reading using School Journals with articles and stories on different cultures.

There have been a range of cultures and lifestyles available to learn from- Samoan, Iranian, Afghani, to name a few. While the stories have been about different people coming to New Zealand or living overseas, the learning intention has been to question as you read.

The questioning objective helps children to organise basic information about the culture, place or activity written about:


It also gives children a chance to dig a little deeper using Should, Could or Would questions. The focus has been on asking questions before reading to predict; asking questions during reading to clarify; asking questions after reading to summarise.

The next step in integrating te reo into this would be to use the maori question vocabulary.

Learning about other cultures comes under the umbrella of the Treaty of Waitangi because it is acknowledged that by recognising maori culture, the children then have the opportunity to examine their own cultures and then examine the cultures of other people.

So what impact has this had on understanding culture and accepting difference? One group of children have been learning to write letters to the editor after seeing Australian politicians in the news saying people had the right to be bigots. Reading groups have been learning to tackle non-English words and use context such as photographs and surrounding text to help understand this vocabulary. Prior to this, many of the children glossed over the words and did not attempt them.

One child, after reading their article, commented:

Hey! This book has brown people like me! I wish all the books were like this!!

Integrating cultural study into a deep guided reading session has revealed more to children than a superficial glimpse of another country. They have been learning to question what they see, find out what they don’t know and check their understanding, not just in reading but in the way they approach information about other cultures.


Taonga/ Family Treasures

A lot of people come to live in New Zealand from different countries. We often have treasures from other cultures. What treasures does your family have? Why are they special? They might have been owned by special people. They might be valuable or very old. Some family treasures are information- what we know about our history and our family trees.