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Matariki from a Historical Perspective

Rosemary Cole 0 3134

Historically, te reo Māori was an oral language and Matariki (Māori New Year) was a time when knowledge was shared orally, as in reciting whakapapa (family trees). Matariki was also a time when legends were passed on orally.

One such legend is about Tāne-mahuta – the guardian spirit of the forest and the god of light. He pushed Rangi-nui (Sky Father) and Papa-tū-ā-nuku (Earth Mother) apart, so that he and his brothers had more light and space. One of Tāne-mahuta’s many brothers was Tāwhiri-mātea, the god of wind and storms. Tāwhiri-mātea was angry about his parents being forcibly separated and cried seven tears that became the seven stars of Matariki.

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