Celebrating Matariki

around the world

In celebration of Matariki, Māori astronomer Professor Rangi Matamua (Ngāi Tūhoe) and journalist Miriama Kamo (Ngāi Tahu, Ngāti Mutunga) have come together to create a new children's book, Matariki Around the World (with illustrations by Isobel Te Aho-White), which explores the origins of the Matariki cluster through nine name whetū (stars) and includes stories about the same star cluster from the Pacific Islands to Australia, Asia, the Americas, Europe and Africa.

Kamo is an award-winning journalist and the anchor of TVNZ's flagship current affairs programme Sunday. Her first children's book was the popular The Stolen Stars of Matariki.

Kamo says Matariki is not just a tale for ancient times but has many lessons for today.

The star cluster Matariki has a number of names across cultures including the Pleiades, the Seven Sisters and the Daughters of Atlas.

Kamo says Matariki means tiny eyes or the eyes of God.

"It comes from that story of Tāwhirimātea getting really cross at his siblings and then throwing his eyes up to Ranginui and them sticking to his chest and becoming the cluster that we know as Matariki now."

Kamo says across the west coast it is the star Puanga which is more readily associated with the new year.

"It's really just because Matariki doesn't rise up above, you know those mountains behind them."

Link to recorded interview and article: Celebrating Matariki around the world | RNZ


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