Matariki is a very special celebration for our Let’s Grow whānau. For us, the most important aspect of Matariki is coming together as a community. The weeks leading up to Matariki are filled with excitement and anticipation for our tamariki. We have developed rituals that we build on each year such as planting garlic, making soup with the pumpkins that we have grown in our gardens, singing waiata, and creating lanterns for our whānau Matariki event. Each year we come together as a community at nightfall. We celebrate next to a fire and witness our Karioi tamariki walk through a candle lit pathway carrying their lanterns. We gather together to sing waiata and then enjoy a shared kai and roast marshmallows. This year was extra special and Tāwhirimātea blessed us with a calm and beautiful evening.

This year we added a new component to our Maratiki celebration. We decided to put emphasis on remembering those who have passed during the year. We invited whānau to hang stars for their loved ones that have passed in our special mānuka tree. Together we created an instillation of stars amongst the lights. This was an emotional and healing ritual that we hope to continue and build on each year.

Matariki is part of a bigger constellation called Te Waka o Rangi. It is a canoe with Matariki at the bow and Tautoru at the stern that is captained by a tupuna named Taramainuku. His mahi is to cast a cosmic net across the earth as the sun sets each day. With this net, he trawls for the wairua of those who have passed. Each day he hauls the net up to the sky and hangs it off the back of his waka. Our loved ones are carried across the heavens lead by Matariki. As the sun rises, Taramainuku casts the wairua of the dead into the sky where they become part of the cosmos. In te reo Māori, Kua wheturangihia is a way of saying someone has passed, it literally means that they have become stars.

Another special Matariki at Lets Grow, we can’t wait to see you next year!  Images by – thanks Jasper 🙂