Matariki is the herald of the Maaori New Year.

For Maaori the New Year begins with the rising of Matariki in the North-Eastern sky at dawn after the New Moon in Ao Nui.

Now in modern times it has been suggested to shift the starting of the Maaori New Year away from the new moon.

The concept behind this shift is that in the Maaori calendar the night of the new moon is called Whiro.

Whiro as a name is also attributed to the elder brother of Taane known as Whiro te Tipua, the sixth son of Ranginui and Papatuuaanuku.

Over the course of time Whiro te Tipua has become known as the god of evil and it is this attribution which is cited as a reason not to celebrate anything on a day with the name Whiro.

However within the teachings of ‘30 nights of the moon’ (as given within Te Kauwae Runga) Whiro is not actually referred to as one of the actual five listed bad days of the moon.

Whiro is simply referred to as ‘the moon is invisible’.

When we use Maaori Language DNA to decode the word Whiro we gain insight into the inner meanings and functions of the word:-

There are two ways to decode this word.

1. Whi = Be Able
    Ro = Forward

2. Wh = Recognition of the self-unknowable
    I = Unchangeable
    Ro = Forward

There has grown another modern practice to celebrate Matariki at the time of the Winter Solstice combining both rituals into one and yet another practice to shift the New Year entirely into Te Aho Turuturu.


The saying ‘Matariki Kainga Kore’ – Homeless Matariki – refers to the constant travel of this constellation.

Celestial EventTimeStar ClusterLocation in Sky
Spring EquinoxSunriseMatarikiNorth West
SunsetMatarikiBelow Western Horizon
Summer SolsticeSunriseMatarikiBelow Eastern Horizon
SunsetMatarikiNorth East
Autumn EquinoxSunriseMatarikiBelow Eastern Horizon 
SunsetMatarikiNorth West
Winter Solstice SunriseMatarikiNorth East
SunsetMatarikiBelow Western Horizon
Upon the waning of Tikaka Muturangi  after sunset -approx. 29th 9:00pm- the three stars of Tautoru are lined up vertically upon the western horizon, while Takurua is directly above them and Matariki directly below.

Matariki, Tautoru and Takurua make a post of stars.

Like a fence post, its base (Matariki) is buried in the ground, Tautoru sits on the horizon at ground level, and Takurua marks the top of the post.

This is Te Pou o Hine Nui te Poo, it marks the approaching winter.

(As observed from -38.65550 178.01029)
Te Pou o Hine Nui Te Poo
Upon the waning of Uruwhenua -approx. 15th 6:33am- Te Pou o Hine Nui Te Poo re-appears rising in the east just ahead of the sun.
The first bright star to rise is Puanga, rising close to east. Over the next few days the rest of the post again appears as a downward slanting pole, with Matariki highest in the northeast, Tautoru in the middle, exactly on east and Takurua at the lowest position in the southeast.
The rising point of Matariki during this period marks the place where the sun will rise at the approaching winter solstice.

(As observed from -38.65550 178.01029)
Te Pou o Hine Nui Te Poo


Along with the seven acknowledged stars there are four others which were never talked about. These are the four binds /lore’s which hold the seven sons in place. 

These are known as Te Pou Wha o Te Whare Matariki:-

Te Pou Te Poo

Te Pou Te Hii

Te Pou Toko Toru Tapu

Te Pou Te Raa

... ... ...

The first wife of Uru te Ngangana was Hine Turama and they had:

Tamatakuku - Alderbaran

Puanga - Rigel

Tautoru - Orion

Autahi - Canopus

Matariki - Pleiades

Whanui - Vega

Takarua - Sirius

Puutara - Betelgeuse

Rehua - Antares

All of these were distributed by Taane te Waananga a Rangi to the front of their parent Ranginui.

The Septuplet sons of Uru te Ngangana and Hine Turama collectively known as Matariki –Pleiades– are:


Tupu Aa Nuku

Tupu Aa Rangi




Uru Aa Rangi

Now the seven sons of Uru te Ngangana, were taken to the Paeroa o Whanui –one of the names for the milky way- to guard the Whanau Punga –those little stars in the milky way that are just distinguishable as such by the naked eye-, lest they be cast out by their elder brethren and fall down below.


In the Northern Hemisphere Matariki is known as 'The Pleiades' which is a cluster of up to fourteen hot blue stars which, dependant on one’s location most can be seen with the naked eye.

In the northern hemisphere myth the Pleiades are represented as seven sisters: Maia, Alcyone, Asterope, Celaeno, Taygete, Electra, and Merope.

Their parents were Atlas, -a Titan commanded by the god Zeus to hold up the earth-, and Pleione, -the mythical protectress of sailors-.

However In the southern hemisphere, Aotearoa, among some Maaori tribes they are represented as sons as opposed to daughters whilst other branches do not assign either gender to the stars rather acknowledging them as pure celestial beings of Mauri Atua while other branches assign male and female roles respectively.

The stars are seen as a home of the Gods, a place where Te Mauri Tangata returns after death.

When Te Pou o Hine Nui Te Poo is seen standing in the west Te Kauwatawata has opened the door of Pou Tererangi allowing Te Aho o Te Ao me Te Aho o Rarohenga to re-connect as Te Aho o Ngaa Atua.

It is via Te Aho o Ngaa Atua that Te Mauri Tangata are returned to the home of the Gods.

The departure of Te Mauri Tangata from this world begins when Te Pou o Hine Nui Te Poo is seen rising in the eastern skies upon the waning of Uruwhenua and is completed upon the rising of Matariki within Ao Nui.

With the Ao Nui rising of Matariki Te Aho o Te Ao me Te Aho o Rarohenga are again separated due to Te Kauwatawata closing the door to Pou Tererangi.

The doorway to Pou Tererangi is open an approximate sixteen days.

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