13 Jul 2023

Mānawatia a Matariki

Posted in: Toitū Together


Toitū is to care for the life of this place, our people and our future. It is our name and our commitment.

Over the past few weeks, we’ve been learning more about this land we call home and how we relate to the world around us. With the beginning of the Māori New Year, it’s been an exciting time to learn about Matariki through discussions, attending our local events, and hosting workshops with our team.


Through two deep-dive sessions, the wonderful Tahua Pihema gave us a deeper understanding of Matariki and its relevance in our current climate mahi.

Wānanga 1 focused on what Matariki is, why it is important to Māori, why it connects to the calendar and Māori New Year, what the different stars are and what they each symbolise, and how they relate to caring for the environment.

Wānanga 2 focused on how Matariki can be relevant to us, our whānau, and community, what embodiments of Matariki we may already experience, and how we can practically apply the values of Matariki in our mahi.

Tahua Pihema

Tahua Pihema Matariki workshopsThe workshops were run by Tahua Pihema who is of Ngāti Whātua descent and grew up in the Tairāwhiti East Coast District steeped in Māori cultural practices. Guided by the principles and values of her kaumātua (grandparents), she has been able to serve her people on the marae, through iwi activity at operations levels, and by representing them in governance spaces. Tahua is a practitioner and experienced mentor of tikanga Māori (customs) and has been a kapa haka representative at regional and national levels. Ngā mihi Tahua!


Matariki Toitu quotes from workshopsThe experience was exceptional, and despite being online, felt completely immersive - through the art of storytelling, Tahua sparked a challenging and intriguing dialogue with our team. So much so that we tracked a 161% increase in our understanding of Matariki, and a 110% increase in our confidence to apply the values of Matariki into our everyday, following the two sessions!


For those in Tāmaki on Friday 14 July, there is a free public event being run from 5:30 –9AM at Takaparawhau, Ōrākei Marae. This is for the Umu Kohukohu Whetū ceremony to celebrate the beginning of the Māori New Year – which involves lighting an earth oven before sunrise with food offerings to the Matariki star cluster. Last year about 1,000 people went to this first public event which includes breakfast. We’ve heard it’s best to get there early.

Take a look at the festival’s events page here to see what’s happening near you.

In Auckland, we’ve been enjoying the display on the way to our office in Britomart ‘What Matariki Means to Me’. Check it out if you come to visit us!

Britomart Matariki display

We are excited to be celebrating te ao Māori and the significance of this time of year. It’s about having a deep relationship with our environment and our histories, ever looking to increase our respect with this special place.