News | 26 June 2024
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Puanga and the nine stars of Matariki

Learn more about what each star represents.

Graphic of the matariki stars

Ururangi (Merope)
This whetū encourages us to get to know te whānau puhi (the wind family) – Hauraro (north wind), Tonga (south wind), Hauāuru (west wind), Marangai (east wind) – to embrace its strength and prepare for any challenges it creates.

Waipuna-ā-rangi (Electra)
To reflect about climate change, and what we can do today to lessen the problem, we look to Waipuna-ā-rangi (Electra). She welcomes the winter sky waters in all their forms – ua (rain), ua nganga (hail), and hukarere (snow).

Waiti (Maia)
This star watches over our freshwater environments – our awa (rivers), roto (lakes), kūkūwai (wetlands), and waipuna (springs).

Tupu-ā-nuku (Pleione)
This star encourages us to consider more carefully what we are putting into Papatūānuku (the earth), and in what quantities. Tupu-ā-nuku (Pleione) has a special interest in our edible plants. This includes the natives pūhā (sowthistle), kawakawa (pepper tree), kokihi (NZ spinach), and tī kōuka (cabbage tree).

Hiwa-i-te-rangi/Hiwa (Celaeno)
This wishing star is the youngest star. She helps us to recognise our hopes, dreams and aspirations for the coming year.

Tupu-ā-rangi (Atlas)
This whetū has long looked out for the ngahere (forests) and our native wildlife – manu (birds), bats, mokomoko (lizards), and ngārara (bugs) – that are being ravaged by introduced pests and predators, along with our ancient rākau (trees). Tupu-ā-rangi encourages us to take action to help to bring our forests back to life again.

Waitā (Taygeta)
Biodiversity is essential to our world and Waitā (Taygeta) surveys our vast oceans, Te Moana-nui-o-Kiwa (the Pacific Ocean) and Te Tai-o-Rehua (the Tasman Sea). Our actions need to support and enhance it.

Matariki (Alcyone)
The mother of the stars in the constellation, Matariki gathers the people together, and connects them with our environment. She inspires people to do the same.

Pōhutukawa (Sterope/Asterope)
We are encouraged to take the time to treasure the people who have passed on through Pōhutukawa, and to hold tight to our memories of them and acknowledge their impact on our lives.

Puanga (Rigel)
The herald of Matariki, Puanga is a time to wānanga, to restore faith and hope for the future, a time for whanaungatanga, to be with others, share stories and kai, and celebrate who we are.