Matariki has become a national holiday in Aotearoa-New Zealand and is due to start this year in 2022 during the Tangaroa nights in the month of Pipiri. This is on the Gregorian date of the 24th of June, 2022. Matariki and Puanga are stars that are an important part of a larger Māori calendar system called the maramataka, which is based on the position of the sun, stars, phases of the moon as well as environmental and ecological indicators. The development of knowledge surrounding Matariki, Puanga and maramataka over the past 30 years has seen both Māori and non-Māori communities embrace the important times associated with these stars. The principles and values of the Matariki holiday were developed by the Matariki Advisory Committee last year. One of the core values of Matariki is Mana Taiao, Environmental Awareness. In this talk I will discuss the revitalisation of Matariki, Puanga and the maramataka, the practices and cultural understandings of Matariki and also how we as New Zealanders can contribute to the well being of the environment, through Mana Taiao.
Dr Pauline Harris is from the tribes Rongomaiwahine, Ngāti Rakaipaka and Ngāti Kahungunu. She is a Senior Lecturer for the Centre for Science and Society at Victoria University of Wellington (VUW). Dr Harris is an astrophysicist who has specialized in high energy neutrino production and inflationary cosmology. Dr Harris’s research currently focuses on mātauranga Māori associated with Māori astronomy, Māori calendars called maramataka as well as climate change. Currently, Dr Harris is the Chairperson of the Society for Māori Astronomy Research and Traditions (SMART). She is also the Deputy Director Māori for the MacDiarmid Institute for Advanced Materials and Nanotechnology and the Vision Mātauranga Theme Leader for the Science for Technological Innovation National Science Challenge. Dr Harris was part of the Matariki Advisory Committee and advised the government on the establishment of the Matariki public holiday.