E Ururangi – Seventh born, yonder in the heavens, cloaked within your stardust korowai, we see you, I see you… amid your celestial whānau Matariki, Ururangi, I entreat, throw off your cloak and shine brightly, herald in the gentle winds, so as we may rest and celebrate good fortune, E Ururangi – Seventh born, yonder in the heavens.
An original poem about Matariki that references one of the stars of the cluster, Ururangi – the star of the wind. The kaupapa (focus) for Matariki 2018 is sustainable natural resources of Matariki – Tupu-ā-nuku, Tupu-ā-rangi and Ururangi. These whetū (stars) are connected to food that is grown in the earth, food that comes from the sky, and the wind. It is essential for us to look after our Earth, and its natural resources, so that it can continue to sustain us.
With Matariki approaching, it’s nearly time to start thinking about our food plantings for the coming year. Three stars of the Matariki cluster, Tupu-ā-nuku, Tupu-ā-rangi, and Ururangi, are important to planning for the coming year’s food crops – and traditionally the way they appear to viewers (hazy or clear, for instance) helped Māori determine when the best planting times and conditions would be.
Tupu-ā-nuku is the star of food from the earth – root vegetables and anything that grows directly from the ground, so this covers most of the vege garden. Tupu-ā-rangi governs food from the sky – so that’s fruit from trees, berries, and birds. Ururangi is the star of the winds, so it’s understandable this star would play an important part in determining key dates of the growing calendar – particularly in windy Canterbury!
As a gardener and seed-saver myself, all this makes perfect sense – the middle of winter is the best time to leave the saturated garden soils alone to hibernate (and slowly mature their winter crops), while I hibernate too in the warmth of the lounge and process my saved seeds from summer and autumn. As I do so, I’m thinking about next year’s garden rotation: making sure each type of vegetable will have a different spot from the previous year (to minimise the build-up of soil-borne diseases), assessing the harvest from each variety and whether it needs different conditions or an adjusted planting time, and deciding whether I have enough seeds of each type – and whether I’d like to try growing any new vege or varieties.
Seed saving is a great way to take control of your food supply, save money, teach kids about growing, preserve local varieties – and keep that delicious tomato you grew last summer so you can have it again! Anything you’ve grown from bought seed that isn’t an F1 hybrid (a cross to increase plant vigour that won’t grow ‘true to type’ in subsequent generations) can be left to go to seed and its seeds harvested for next year. If you’re buying seed with a view to saving it, look for heritage varieties as their seeds will ‘grow true’.
Peas and beans are super-easy seeds to start saving yourself. Just let some pods dry as much as possible on the plant, pick them before they start getting too wet in autumn, and keep the seeds for next spring. These large and colourful seeds are fun for kids to grow too – easy for little fingers to handle, and their seedlings pop up super-fast.
You can also have a chat with other gardeners in your area and see if they have any seeds for you to try – locally-saved seeds are often a good bet, as they’re adapted to local conditions. You might also want to keep an eye out for the Libraries’ Spring Seeds Swaps, which take place in many libraries across the network (we’ll be posting the dates and locations of these in our events calendar closer to spring).
For me one of the joys of seed saving is seeing the mature forms of vegetable plants, which we often don’t see since we harvest them before maturity. Who knew a parsnip left to go to seed would grow into a ‘tree’ as tall as the guttering of my house? Not me! It was magnificent. 🙂
Different plants need different seed saving techniques, but the good news is there are lots of great books available on seed saving. Why not try starting with one or two plants, and learning how to save seed from a new one every season?
Trust me, once you get started seed saving becomes quite addictive – my poor partner puts up with kitchen towels spread with tomato seeds, a laundry strung with drying corn cobs, and paper bags of seed heads drying all over the house. Gotta have a hobby, I say!
The chill of frosty mornings. Puddles to splash in. Trees a-flame with orange, red, and yellow leaves… and the crunch of those leaves underfoot. There’s no doubt about it. Autumn is here, and she’s arrived in all her glory. Sure, she’s on her way out, and the early-morning frosts are starting to creep in, but let’s enjoy this season while we can.
This time of the year marks the start of the Māori New Year, and the celebration of Matariki. It’s a time of preparing for the coming year, and celebrating with our friends and whānau. This year, Christchurch City Libraries is celebrating the ‘earth stars’ (Tupu-ā-nuku, Tupu-ā-rangi), and the ‘wind star’ (Ururangi), with a focus on sustainable natural resources, and the ways we can protect the environment around us.
During the colder months, it can be tempting to just stay indoors, but since we know that being outdoors in nature is good for our mental and emotional well-being, why not find a way to bring nature inside? Sure, we could go out, buy paint, and create a mural on a wall … but leftover paint may get poured down a drain, end up in our seas and rivers, and kill our fish. We could go to a gift shop and buy a cool plastic bird to put in our bedroom, or go and buy an African wall-hanging … but the plastic bird will be wrapped in plastic that will end up in the landfill, and the plane trip the wall-hanging took to get here to Aotearoa New Zealand has a huge carbon footprint.
So let’s see if we can support the kaupapa of this year’s Matariki theme, look for ways to decrease our more environmental footprint, and use sustainable natural resources to decorate instead.
I’m not overly artistic, but even I know that there’s something relaxing about collecting objects from the outdoors, then creating something from them. Leaf people, pinecone animals, bookmarks made of leaves and flowers covered in contact paper – I spent hours creating these when I was little, and I’m not ready to stop making natural art just yet. There are multiple ways of artfully stacking stones, creating leaf art, and using attractive twigs in ways that are as fun for adults as they are for kids, and as the days start to get shorter we can use those longer evenings to let our creative juices flow.
So why not make the most of the natural resources around us, and create some art using just what Mother Nature has given us? If you’re stuck for inspiration, check out some of these Christchurch City Libraries’ books for ideas.
The Wild Dyer by Abigail Booth
I have always loved the idea of staining paper with coffee or tea to make the paper look tattered, old, and parchment-like. In this book, you can do the grown-up version of this! Learn how to use plants, seeds and foods from your kitchen, garden, and surrounds to dye fabric and create lovely soft furnishings to keep your home cosy and welcoming. This is a great way to use up the ends of veges when you are cooking, and minimises green waste.
Wandering around outdoors, you find so many interesting shapes in the leaves and nature around you. What better way to celebrate this variety than by creating your own unique prints on stationery, clothing, and furniture? With ideas for projects ranging from simple to complex, you’re bound to find something that suits your tastes, and your talent levels.
If you would prefer your arts to your craft, this could be the book for you. Pencils, inks, bowls for the ink, paintbrushes, books – this book teaches you how to make all this (and more!) using just the resources around you. Even if you are like me, and don’t have the time to create all your gear from scratch, this is a fascinating read, and the photos throughout the book really demonstrate how versatile the world around us can be. If you are up for the challenge, though, instead of buying plastic paintbrushes or commercially-produced books which have travelled from overseas, give this try.
Children are made to be outdoors, moving, exploring, and discovering the world around them, and they naturally scavenge to find little treasures in their environment. This book has a whole section on crafts using natural resources, from natural inks, to pinecone animals, to games of driftwood noughts and crosses. Creating and playing with natural toys and games is much more environmentally-friendly than using disposable plastic toys, so next time your little explorers need to stay inside, why not use some of these ideas for a fun afternoon of creativity.
Christchurch City Libraries will be celebrating Matariki throughout the month of Pipiri/June, so keep an eye out for an event near you!
Matariki – the Māori New Year – will take place on 6-9 July 2018. During Matariki we celebrate our unique place in the world. We give respect to the whenua on which we live, and admiration to our mother earth, Papatūānuku.
Matariki 2018 at Christchurch City Libraries continues the theme of ‘Te Iwa o Matariki – the Nine stars of Matariki’, this year with a focus on Toitū Ngā Mahinga Kai o Matariki – Sustainable natural resources of Matariki: Tupuānuku, Tupuārangi, Ururangi.
During June in the lead up to Māori New Year we’ll be offering a range of whānau-friendly celebrations and activities at our libraries.
Each year a community art project runs in our libraries for all to explore their creative side. This year the project is create a replica manu tukutuku (traditional Māori kite). Materials are supplied, all you have to do is bring your creativity.
Our Learning Centres are offering special Matariki Connect sessions for schools, introducing students to the key concepts of Te Iwa o Matariki, and involving a range of fun activities. This programme is now fully booked.
The Arts Centre invites you to come together as a community / whānau to celebrate Matariki 2018 with a variety of activities including a talk by Māori astronomer Dr Rangi Matamua, kapa haka, music and themed storytime sessions.
Matariki Celebration – Ara: Institute of Canterbury – 11-15 June
Ara will be having a whole programme of celebrations and activities 11-15 June across all of their campuses, including waiata, games, speakers, and food.
Pop along to the Bromley Community Centre to celebrate Matariki (Māori New Year)
Free entertainment, free activities, free tea and coffee, free fruit, plus affordable, yummy Māori kai available to purchase! Bromley School Kapa Haka Group will be performing at 4:30pm
Christchurch Art Gallery Te Puna o Waiwhetū – Listen to a new story, The Stolen Stars of Marariki by Miriana Kamo and Zak Waipara, and then make your own Matariki mobile to take home. Ages 4-9. $5 per child, book online.
Organised by Avebury House, Avon-Ōtākaro Network and Richmond Community Garden. Guests are encouraged to contribute produce from their own garden or pantry, dropping off at Avebury House at 11am to contribute to the shared meal from 12 noon to 2pm. Please RSVP to let them know participant numbers and harvest contribution at: www.aveburyhouse.co.nz
Māori crafts (wood carving and flax weaving)
Fun things to do for kids.
Shared kai of soups by Richard Till, and a hangi
blessing and opening of the Native Edible Garden in the Richmond Community Garden
Beginning on Monday 18th June at 5pm with a powhiri, this exhibition showcases contemporary and traditional art works by local Māori artists. Free Kapa haka classes will be held throughout the exhibition and follow the theme of the seven stars of Matariki. The classes offered this year are kite making, movies, waiata and a concert on the final night of Friday 6th July at 5pm.
The children’s activities will be held Tuesdays 4.30pm – 6.30pm & Fridays 5pm onwards throughout the exhibition.
Tuesday 19 June Kapa Haka arts storytelling
Friday 22 June Traditional Games
Tuesday 26 June Movie night
Friday 29 June Whānau movie night
Tuesday 3 July Kapa Haka arts storytelling
Friday 6 July Concert night.
There is no charge for classes however registrations are essential. Call 981 2881 to book. Children and families most welcome.
388 Worcester Street
Monday to Friday 11am – 4pm
Saturday 12pm – 3pm
Most art works will be for sale
Create nature inspired lanterns this Matariki at the Gardens. Combine twigs, leaves and paper to make LED candle lanterns and light up the chilly nights of Matariki. Limited places and parents and guardians will be required to help with construction. Please note that we will be using hot glue. This workshop is most suitable for 7 to 12 year olds, but all ages are welcome. Cost $5 per child.
10am to midday
Christchurch Botanic Gardens
Visitor Centre and Ilex Cafe
Celebrating Matariki at the Phillipstown Community Hub!
A family day with lots of activities, bouncy castle, face painting, carving, music, waiata, traditional sports, photo booths, arts & crafts, kapa haka, and – of course – kai!
Phillipstown Community Hub
39 Nursery Road
Matariki celebrations at Rehua Marae – subscribe to the Facebook event.
Kai and craft stalls, entertainment from local kapa haka and Maori musicians, free workshops. Entertainment: Kaitaka Tupuna O Rehua, Nga Toi O Te Rangi, Lisa Tui, Nga Manu a Tane, Mahina Kaui, Te Ahikaaroa, Te Kotahitanga, and the Koro Band. Workshops (start at 11.30) include star weaving, miniature kite making, tiki making, lantern making,and poi making. Some workshops have limited spaces.
The mobile library van will also be on site.
79 Springfield Road
Join rongoā practitioners as they celebrate Matariki the Māori New Year with a dawn karakia and tree planting as a symbol of new beginnings. The dawn planting will be followed by a hui with kai (bring a plate of food to share) and discussion of the plans for the next 12 months for this new park.
There will also second planting event at 10am. This planting event is suitable for families.
Matariki – the Māori New Year – will take place on Pipiri 25 June 2017. During Matariki we celebrate our unique place in the world. We give respect to the whenua on which we live, and admiration to our mother earth, Papatūānuku.
Matariki 2017 is a fresh look through old eyes at Māori oral traditions, practices and customs associated with the Māori New Year. Over the next three years the Christchurch City Libraries will be re-introducing ‘Te Iwa o Matariki – the Nine stars of Matariki’ beginning with Te Kātao o Matariki – the water stars of Matariki, Waipuna-ā-rangi, Waitī, Waitā.
Matariki Toi – Community Art Project in the Library
Each year a community art project runs in all our libraries for all to explore their creative side. This year the project is weave a star. Materials are supplied, all you have to do is bring your creativity.
Matariki Wā Kōrero – Matariki Storytimes
In addition to our normal Storytimes we have Matariki Storytimes. Come celebrate and welcome the Māori New Year with stories, songs, rhymes and craft activities. All welcome, free of charge.
Our Learning Centres are offering special Matariki Connect sessions for schools, introducing students to the key concepts of Te Iwa o Matariki with a focus on the three water stars, and involving a range of fun activities. This programme is now fully booked.
Other Matariki events in Christchurch
Matariki in the Zone – Sunday, 25 June
Organised by the Avon-Ōtākaro Network – a celebration of Matariki at the Mahinga Kai Exemplar site including the opening of the Poppies commemoration garden. Activities include –
build your own hut
displays and talks
Anzac Drive Reserve
Corserland St (access of New Brighton Road)
“This is what the river told me” art and writing competition
Year 1-13 pupils can submit a written work (up to 2000 words) or artwork (maximum size A3) along the theme of “This is what the river told me”. Entries close 16 June and should be emailed (for artworks a photograph of the art and dimensions/media) to firstname.lastname@example.org
Please include your first and last name, age, school and year.
The Festival runs over nine days from 18 to 27 June, and this year incorporates the Alliance Française Christchurch Musical Festival on opening night. The programme features a street party (the dress up theme is ‘Futuristic’), a masquerade ball, music, waiata, food and wine, live poetry performances, storytelling, and, of course, fireworks.
Matariki, Aotearoa New Zealand New Year has arrived with the return of the star grouping of the same name, what is widely known as The Pleiades, a star cluster within the constellation of Taurus.
In some Māori traditions Matariki forms a pou or post along with Tautoru (Orion’s belt) and Takurua (Sirius). This is the post of Hine-nui-te-pō, the goddess of death, and symbolically marks the death of the old year.
The Matariki cluster, for whatever reason, has fired the imagination for millennia, appearing in poetry and stories since time immemorial. All around the world there are many traditions, legends, and stories based on this cluster of stars.
Matariki in Māori songs and poetry
The stars of Matariki make an appearance in a number of Māori songs and mōteatea (a traditional form of chant or sung poetry), in the latter it is often in a lament or remembrance of a loved one.
Such as this lament by Mere Reweti Taingunguru of Te Whanau-a-Apanui for her husband Te Whatu-a-Rangahau which opens with the lines –
Tērā Matariki huihui ana mai. / Ka ngaro rā, ē, te whetū kukume ata.
(Behold the Pleiades are clustered above. / Lost, alas, is the star that hauls forth the dawn.)
Or this one by Mihi-ki-te-kapua –
Tirohia atu nei ngā whetū, / Me ko Matariki e ārau ana; / He hōmai tau i ngā mahara / E kohi nei, whakarerea atu / Nā te roimata ka hua riringi / Tāheke ware kai aku kamo.
(I gaze up at the stars, / And the Pleiades are gathered together / Which gives rise to many thoughts / That well up within, and freely / Do the tears pour forth / And flow shamelessly from mine eyes.)
Wow. That’s almost got me a bit teary myself.
Then there’s this lament for Ngati Mutunga chiefs Te Whao and Tu-poki
Ka ripa ki waho rā, e Atutahi koa, / Te whetū tārake o te rangi, / Ka kopi te kukume, / Ka hahae Matariki ē, / Puanga, Tautoru, /Nāna i kukume koutou ki te mate, ē.
(Away out yonder is Atutahi, / The star that shines apart in the heavens. / The noose was pulled taut / At the rising of Matariki, / In the company of Puanga and Tautoru. / It was thus you were all hauled down in death, alas.)
The presence or rise of Matariki is also used to indicate the time of year as in this action song of Ngati Rangiwewehi –
Mō te Matariki, e totope nei te hukarere, / Ngā taritari o Matariki.
(In the winter time, heralded now by snowstorms, / And this cold weather of Matariki.)
Or this lament for Te Umukohukohu –
Ka puta Matariki ka rere Whānui. / Ko te tohu tēnā o te tau e!
(Matariki re-appears, Whānui starts its flight. / Being the sign of the [new] year!)
More recent examples include the song “Te Aroha” by Tuini Ngawai, written in 1960 which has the lines –
Horohia e Matariki / ki te Whenua / Te māra-matanga mo te motu e / Kia tipu he puawai honore / Mo te pani, mō te rawakore e / Mo te rawakore e
(Spread your light oh Matariki / On to Mother Earth / As a guiding light for this land / May the seed become an honoured bloom / for the poor, for the needy. / For the needy.)
The Pleiades in poetry around the world
These same stars, though called by other names have been referenced multiple times in poetry in other cultures too. In the 20th century a Japanese literary magazine mainly focused on poetry, was called “Subaru”, the Japanese name for the Pleaides/Matariki cluster.
In 16th century France there was a group of poets who called themselves “La Pleiade”, naming themselves after an even earlier group of poets from 3rd century BC Alexandria, the Alexandrian Pleiad. Another french group of poets based in Toulouse in the 14th century and made up of seven men and seven women also used the name to describe themselves.
Sappho, the greek poetess, thought to have been born around 630 BC, made at least one reference to The Pleaides in her “Midnight poem” –
Tonight I’ve watched / the moon and then / the Pleiades / go down / The night is now / half gone; youth / goes; I am / in bed alone
Each week during term time (except the first and last week) the team from Science Alive bring their Science Snippets sessions into our libraries. Excellent Science Alive educators lead children through interactive activities to stimulate their interest in science, and there is something to take home every week! There is a different theme for each session and this coming week from Monday 30 May it’s Matariki.
You are sure to learn all about Matariki and the stars. We have a great page for kids about Matariki. Learn all about Matariki and traditions, what happens at Matariki and find some cool colouring pages.
Here are some great nonfiction books that we have in the library if you want to learn more about Matariki and the stars:
Matariki – the Māori New Year – will take place on Pipiri 6 June 2016. During Matariki we celebrate our unique place in the world. We give respect to the whenua on which we live, and admiration to our mother earth, Papatūānuku.
Our theme for Matariki 2016 is Akoranga: Teaching and learning – Te Kete Aronui: Third kete of knowledge.
Matariki Community Art Project in the Library
Come along to any library and learn about Te Kete Aronui. Take part in fun, Matariki-themed art and craft activities. Add your work to the community art space or take it home with you.
Matariki Wā Kōrero – Matariki Storytimes
Join us and share stories, rhymes and songs themed around Matariki.
Suitable for tamariki aged 2 to 5 years. Sessions are 30 minutes with an art activity to follow.
If you are aged between 12 and 15, come and join us for a Matariki themed workshop with Lyttelton poet, Ben Brown. You’ll be reflecting on memories and crafting those memories into poetry.
You can book at Shirley Library or ring 9417923 to reserve a spot.
All you need to bring is something to write on (it can be pen and paper, or a tablet/laptop – whatever suits best).
More about Ben Brown
Ben writes children’s books, non-fiction and short stories for children and adults. Born in Motueka, he has been a tobacco farm labourer, tractor driver and market gardener. Since 1992, he has been a publisher and writer, collaborating with his wife, illustrator Helen Taylor. Many of Brown’s books have a strong New Zealand nature background.