The Art of Matariki

13 Aug 2021

Matariki is a celebration of culture, language and people. So to celebrate Matariki this year, we’ve created a beautiful campaign to inspire us all to seek renewal, reflection and reconnection through the Matariki season.

Ko Wai a Matariki? Who is Matariki?

Matariki is short for the name Ngā Mata A Te Ariki A Tawhirimātea.

The name comes from the atua Tawhirimātea, when so angry at his brothers for separating their parents, Ranginui and Papatūānuku, that he pulled out his eyes, crushed them into small pieces and threw them into the heavens. The Matariki constellation of stars gleaming back at us are the eyes of Tawhirimātea.

Ka Rewa a Matariki. The Rise of Matariki

Ana, I te atapō tonu ka rewa ake a Matariki
ka kitea mai, a koirā te tohu o te tau.

Each year the Matariki constellation cannot be seen above our horizon for a period of a few weeks. It then re-appears and can be seen rising above the horizon, which is the sign of the Māori new year.

Matariki has a 1.6 magnitude brightness. This is not very bright. So to be able to see it depends on several factors, including the glow of the sun, the position of the moon, atmospheric conditions, local topography and the apparent magnitude of the star. Matariki is best seen at a heliacal rise of a minimum of 5 degrees, when the sun has an altitude of -16 degrees during the lunar phase Tangaroa, which is the 3 - 4 days before a new moon. As a result, Matariki can be seen on the 13 - 16th of July in 2020.

Ngā Tamariki a Matariki: The Children of Matariki

Observing the brightness, distinctiveness and colour of Matariki provides insight into the wellbeing of people and the environment for the coming year.

Each star in the constellation represents one of the children of Matariki and Rehua.

He Wā Tūhono Tēnei: A Time of Connection

Matariki atua ka eke mai i te rangi e roa,
E whāngainga iho ki te mata o te tau e roa e

Divine Matariki come forth from the far off heaven
Bestow the first fruits of the year upon us.

Matariki is a great time to take a pause, gather in your whānau (whether that’s your work whānau, kapa haka, or your Mum) and enjoy some much needed reflection and reconnection and have a wānanga about how to make the next season a cycle of awesomeness.

He Mahi Toi: The Artwork

The artwork we have created represents the harmony and balance we all seek for our new year.

In the art we see Rehua and Matariki as large koru in a balanced relationship. Their 8 children are nestled between them. The koru lines emanating outwards in all directions represent the abundance of joy, peace, happiness we hope you all receive.

  • How will you renew your energy and passion for the coming year?
  • What inspires you to enjoy the journey and take people with you?
  • How can we give each other a bit more love and support than we did last year?
  • Who’s cooking the hāngī and most importantly, making the steam pudding.

He Mihi: Acknowledgements

A special thanks to the great work by Dr Rangi Matamua and his book Matariki - The Star of the Year and Te Wānanga o Aotearoa for their great work restoring this essential mātauranga for all New Zealanders.

Nei mātou e tuku mihi ki a koutou.


Creative Director - Johnson McKay
Account Director - Tanya Smith
Marketing Exec. - Kerira Tapene
Design Team - Tim Hansen, Tanmay Desai, Jason Fantonial, Storm Smith, Malachi McKay
Motion - Storm Smith, Malachi McKay
Photography - Storm Smith