Go Fly a Kite at Matariki
Rosemary Cole
/ Categories: Outside the fence

Go Fly a Kite at Matariki

(but not within the sanctuary!)

From June 10 - 25th Matariki or Māori New Year is being celebrated in Aotearoa, New Zealand.

One Lunar Calendar ends when the 7 stars of Matariki appear in the Eastern sky at dawn where the sun rises. The next Māori Lunar Calendar begins with the next new moon.

You can see Matariki just with your eyes as an open cluster of stars in Taurus' constellation.

According to Māori, Matariki means 'little eyes' [ mata = eyes and riki = little ]. It is a time of harvest, renewal and remembrance of those who died in the past year. Whakapapa/family trees also traditional Māori myths and legends are retold.

One Māori legend is about 7 sisters creating 7 different shaped kites, e.g., a box kite from flax branches and woven flax. The youngest sister was called Matariki and this was the first time she had been allowed to join her older sisters. Each hoped to fly her kite the highest. They waited patiently on a high hilltop for the wind to fly their kites, but there was no wind! Then, they tied their kites' strings to a Puriri tree's branches and fell asleep under that Puriri still waiting for the wind.

After a while, the sneaky wind slid up the hill. It blew stronger and stronger until those kite strings were released. The kites flew way up in the sky. When the sisters awoke, little Matariki cried that her kite was gone. All the sisters searched for their kites, but Matariki was the first to see them as stars dancing clearly and brightly amongst other stars. Those 7 stars  became named The 7 Stars of Matariki after that youngest sister.

Each iwi [ tribe ] may have different versions of this legend about the 7 stars being like the 7 kites of the 7 little sisters. 

When you next go and fly a kite and/or when you next celebrate Matariki, do remember to look for those 7 stars.

Hari Matariki / Happy Māori New Year.


Please note that kite flying within ZEALANDIA is prohibited. 

Pictured: Puriri seedling, image credit ZEALANDIA

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