Matariki – Poi Princess Newsletter #6

posted in: Latest news | 10

Kaupapa o te marama – Topic of the month

Matariki – The Māori new yearMatariki is the Maori name for a group of seven stars known as the Pleiades star cluster. Some people think of Matariki as a mother star with six daughters, and it is often referred to as the Seven Sisters. Others think that Matariki are the ‘eyes of the god’. When Ranginui, the sky father, and Papatūānuku, the earth mother, were separated by their children the god of wind, Tāwhirimātea, became angry, tearing out his eyes and hurling them into the heavens. There are many other legends surrounding Matariki that have significance to the stars and the time of year. Matariki is the Māori New Year!
Stars were what guided the first waka to Aotearoa and dictated every aspect of life – from planting and food gathering, to when hui and celebrations were held. Matariki signals the changing of the season, a very important time in ancient Māori life.

Āku whakaaro – My thoughts

These days I believe some continue to celebrate traditions and old ways but we are also creating and developing a new appreciation and new traditions for this special time of year, here in Aotearoa.
I like to think it signifies a time to gather with whanau and friends. To acknowledge the year gone by, to remember those who have passed, and to turn our eye to the new year ahead. It is a time for reflection, a time to give thanks to the earth that sustains us and a time for new beginnings.
New traditions and te reo in our whare
Last year, at this time, tāku tamāhine and I read the books I now stock.  Each one we enjoyed and they proved their value. They got me thinking especially about whānau, values and traditions.One particular book Matariki by Melanie Drewery played a big part in what we were personally going through as a family… in the story they explain that during Matariki they sometimes sang waiata that sounded sad, these were for people they had loved that had passed away. In May last year I lost my Dad suddenly and my eldest daughter had her first experience of death. We cried and talked everything through at her level and she coped amazingly and resiliently. From the particular passage of the story I mentioned, she immediately related it to what was going on in our lives and she led a conversation about singing songs for Grandad and keeping his memory alive. This was something that touched me very deeply. A young child coming out with such beautiful and thoughtful words and understanding of such a sad time.I have to say, I really love books, I have a real passion for books. They open the world to so many thoughts, possibilities and understanding. I especially love the way they can be used for so many purposes. The books about Matariki helped us on our journey of reflection and acceptance.During the same time with other regular everyday experiences and considering what new traditions I wanted to encourage in our young whānau. I felt it was important for us to remain positive and to count our blessings, I particularly wanted to promote an attitude of gratitude in our whare…So the idea that called to me was to start “He tīa whakawhetai” (a blessing jar).
We washed jars we had used at home and we spent time decorating our tīa whakawhetai with stickers, just the way we wanted them. Then at the end of the day (usually at dinner time) we chatted as a whānau and we said at least one thing we felt grateful about. To be honest as the time went by our daughter wanted to put notes in the jar ALL the time!I introduced the tīa (jar) in te reo to increase some vocab but we wrote things for the tīa in English. My daughter and I have had around a year of this tradition and I feel positive about it. I intend on reading our years worth of blessings as part of our Matariki celebration this year.

My partner has since decided to join the party and I decided it would be fun to increase our kupu Māori as a whanau at the same time. So we are going to start out writing just one kupu in te reo Māori. We are all learning and I think it will help us in many different ways. We started the other day and my eldest daughter who is coming up 5 in a few months decided she wanted to write the kupu herself underneath my kupu. She is excited about writing and literacy at the moment. This is a great activity to encourage her to consider the kupu Māori and then if she wants to write the word or draw a picture to go along with it, this would further scaffold her learning in a meaningful way.


Ngā rauemi a Poi Princess – Poi Princess resources available:
I have a few ngā rauemi Matariki available and I have also put together a couple of different packs that I am sure you and the tamariki will enjoy.


Te Pukapuka Matariki (The Matariki book bundle)

This bundle contains 5 books about Matariki.
4 of these books are in English.
1 of these books is in Māori and includes a singalong CD.
Titles are:
The seven stars of Matariki – By Toni Rolleston-Cummins
The seven kites of Matariki – By Calico McClintock & Dominique Ford
Matariki – By Melanie Drewery
Matariki – By Sharon Holt
Daniel’s Matariki feast – By Rebecca Beyer and Linley Wellington

Buy now



Te whakarāwai pack (The decoration pack)

This pack was inspired by decorating! M is for Matariki! Decorate the windows. Decorate the roof with a night sky or maybe pictures on black paper to take home!
Pack includes:
Cardboard stencils of the Māori alphabet that can be used again and again.
4 brightly coloured fine nib window chalk pens
1 white wide nib window chalk pen
And two packets of 24 pieces stick on glow in the dark assorted moons, stars or planets

Buy now



Te Poikere Matariki pack (The Matariki playdough pack)

This fun playdough pack was inspired by this article
and includes:
A set of 5 star cookie cutters
6 pack of glitter shakers – turqoise, purple, pink, black, gold and green.
1 Packet of Star glitter shapes
1 Packet of Oval rhinestones
1 Packet of Round rhinestones
You wll also be sent 1 Digital printout of the adapted recipe with ngā kupu Māori (Māori words) me ngā rerenga (sentences) in reguards to the ingredients, equipment and working with the playdough.

Buy now



Tāwhirimātea – A song for Matariki – By June Pitman Hayes, Illustrated By Kat Merewether, Māori lyrics By Ngaere Roberts
Tawhirimatea, blow winds blow,
Ra, warm us up with your sunshine glow.
Papatuanuku, we plant seeds in you.
Ua, rain, helps new life come through . . .Sing along to this catchy Matariki song celebrating Earth, sky, seasons and whanau. It’s our very own Aotearoa, from forest to seashore, dawn light to starry night.Buy now



Te Manu Tukutuku The Māori kite – By Bob Maysmor

Manu signifies “bird” and “tukutuku” the lattice-like nature of kite construction. Widely used throughout pre-European NZ. In this book Bob Maysmor talks about the kites from their origins to demise including materials used, different types, lines and bridles, flying, chants and charms and kite legends and histories.

*Be in quick as there is only one of these books left in stock
Buy now



Matariki The Māori new year – By Libby Hakaraia

This book is an introduction to the star group Matariki. Known in other cultures by names including Pleiades and the Seven sisters, Matariki featured strongly in Pre-European New Zealand…

Buy now



Other free and useful activities and rauemi Māori
For more free resources and activity ideas about this kaupapa be sure to go over to the Poi Princess Facebook page, give it a like and a follow and stay tuned next week for all of the links to the free things I have found!
Āku whakaaro mutunga – My closing thoughts
In NZ we usually celebrate our new year when the annual calendar begins in January. Thinking about Matariki helps me to consider how different life would be living by the moon and its phases. I find it intriguing but at the same time so natural, well before we had all the modern day things we have now we listened to the earth and what it told us. Matariki is a wonderful time to find our balance in a busy world and reconnect with Papatūānuku and at the same time ground ourselves.
Furthermore, it’s a time that feels natural to stay snug and warm, to eat, to laugh, to sing, to catch up with our friends and whānau. Some downtime just like the earth has, to reflect and regenerate for the new year and all its wonderful fresh and new happenings.
Whatever Matariki means to you and your whānau, I hope you are healthy and warm.
I will close with Ira Mitchell-Kirks pikitia and some words from Libby Hakaraia’s book Matariki…

Mā te whetūrangi o Matariki, e tiaki mai, e manaaki mai i a koe,
I koutou rānei, mō te tau e taka mai ana.
May the gentle light of Matariki guide and inspire you all this year.


Feel free to leave a comment or kōrero mai ki ahau via email at the bottom left of this page. I always enjoy hearing from you.

Alternatively, you can sign up to recieve my newsletters straight to your Inbox by joining my mailing list at the bottom right of this page. To see all of the other beautiful rauemi Māori I have for sale please click here to be taken to the Shop page.

Ngā mihi mahana,


10 Responses

  1. Betty Scott

    Very well thought out and explained my gurl as usual very proud of you I’m really impressed by them blessing jars what a great idea much love muma bear xox

  2. Great packs. Learning by singing and play is fun and easier generally for our Tamariki. I too love books and those you have sourced are great fun to read to our Tamariki. Keeps the legends of our Tupuna alive.

  3. Thanks for sharing, this Irish colleen feels inspired to continue my own personal learning journey of the culture of my new home land. Thanks to you sharing your wisdom I can support the tamariki in my care along their lifelong learning journey.

    • Thank you Susan thats beautiful. I love what Im learning and what Im doing at the moment. My Nana from my Mums side was of Irish hertitage. Oneday I hope to learn some more about that side of my family also. We are all learning. All the best on your journey. 🙂 Ngā mihi, Beth

  4. Hey there,
    Can you please add my email to your mailing list!

    Thank you,

  5. Rachel Woodyear-Smith

    Kia ora Beth
    I just wanted to let you know that I just love receiving your newsletter. In particular I enjoy reading how you are sharing your own very personal growth, and your own journey of discovery with your own family. What you share is real and from the heart. As Matariki is celebrated it is such a lovely time of remembrance and a time to celebrate and give thank for the many gifts and blessings we have received. The gifts you are giving your whanau are the greatest gifts of all.
    I’m sorry that I didn’t think of purchasing my Matariki book from you – If you had shared this story a month earlier with the resources to support your newsletter I would have been prompted and reminded that you stock a fantastic range of Matariki resources. I’m looking forward to your next korero.
    Aroha nui

    • Kia Ora Rachel,
      Thank you so much for your kind words. I love what I am doing at the moment. 🙂 I really appreciate the positive feedback.
      Please consider me in the future if you are in need of ANY Māori resources. If you dont see it there is still a possibility that I can get it, just message me and I will look into stocking it or just getting it for you. 🙂
      Ngā mihi mahana,

Leave a Reply