Matariki is the name the Native New Zealand People, Māori give to a cluster of stars also known as the Pleiades. Every winter the rising of the stars of Puaka (Puanga) and Matariki herald the end of the lunar year and the start of the next within the Māori World.
Traditionally Māori viewed the rising of Matariki as the time to farewell those who have passed in the previous year, celebrate the arrival of the New Year and prepare for the coming year in the custom of the local people. But it was also a happy event – crops had been harvested and seafood and birds had been collected. With plenty of food in the storehouses, Matariki was a time for singing, dancing and feasting.
Matariki literally means the ‘eyes of god’ (mata ariki) or ‘little eyes’ (mata riki). According to myth, when Ranginui, the sky father, and Papatūānuku, the earth mother, were separated by their children, the god of the winds, Tāwhirimātea, became so angry that he tore out his eyes and threw them into the heavens.
Matariki, or Māori New Year celebrations are very popular. It is a time for honouring the ‘New Zealand Thanksgiving’. A special feature of Matariki celebrations is the flying of kites – according to ancient custom they flutter close to the stars.
The stars have always been a large part of Māori life. Planting, hunting, harvesting, gathering and navigation were all guided by the stars. Over the past twenty years there has been a rejuvenation in these practices. Māori have turned back to traditional practices guided by the stars.
Star Stud Earrings
I would like to honour this age old tradition myself by telling you a little about our special pieces of unique New Zealand Jewellery in our range which are stylised on cosmic influences.
PE215/PE115 – Star Stud Earrings
JE215 Star Stud Earrings – Greenstone
The cold clear crisp winters nights here in New Zealand means it is the perfect time for star-gazing. Dark, clear skies; unique celestial features and otherworldly landscapes make stargazing in New Zealand a breathtakingly magical experience.
In the heart of the South Island the sky is so clear and vast that millions of stars seem to appear right before your eyes.
Unique to the Mackenzie Region, the clear skies found in this part of the world are like nothing else in New Zealand. Very limited light pollution means the views of the night sky seem to stretch on as far as the eye can see.
In 2012, the 4300 square kilometre area was declared the Aoraki Mackenzie International Dark Sky Reserve, with light pollution strictly controlled in the area. It is the only one of its kind in the Southern Hemisphere, and one of only eight in the world. It has been labelled as one of the best stargazing sites on earth.
I have been lucky enough to visit this region and seeing this sky through a telescope was an experience unlike any other. Keen stargazers in this region see amazing constellations that can only be seen in the southern hemisphere, including the Southern Cross, to the Magellanic Clouds and the Milky Way
The absolute best place to observe the celestial fireworks of a meteor shower is Lake Tekapo in the South Island of New Zealand. This idyllic lake side town can boast one of the darkest and starriest night sky’s in the world. Tens of thousands of people flock here annually to see the southern stars and transient phenomena such as aurorae, meteor showers and the zodiacal light in all their pristine glory.
I urge you all to the time to look up, study the galaxies and stars, and feel connected to the awesome history of the universe.
My delicate wee Star Stud earrings always sparkle and shimmer like these stars when I wear them and remind me of the truly precious and unique experience I had star gazing in the Mackenzie region.