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Matariki is a time to prepare the whenua on which we live. In the middle of winter during Matariki, the land is in its most inactive phase. Certain vegetables are planted to appease the land based gods Rongo, Uenuku and Whiro. With spring on its way, Matariki is the perfect time to make plans for the land and for the new spring garden.
Matariki is an important constellation for the provision of kai as the whakatauki states, “Nga kai a Matariki nana i ao ake i runga”-Matariki scoops up the food. It is the start for all things new.
By the time Matariki comes into the sky, you must have finished the preserving of kai. When Matariki comes you plant a ceremonial offering of kai into the whenua, for Whiro and Uenuku, to ensure a good crop for the next season.
This kai keeps Uenuku asleep until the time of growth in Spring. Matariki is also a good time for planting new trees and shrubs.
“Acknowledging the family
Pinepine te kura, hau te kura”
Matariki was a relatively inactive period of the year. This allowed time for study and learning. For some iwi the stars form the first house of learning, a whare wananga in the sky.
Matariki is a time to learn about your whanau, and a time to remember those who have passed on from this world to the next. Whakapapa is an important part of Matariki celebrations.