Traditionally, the reappearance of Matariki, rising in mid-winter coincided with the end of the harvest season and the start of the Māori new year. It was a time when winter food stocks were plentiful, and less work was needed in the gardens, a time of remembrance of whānau who had passed in the previous year and thoughtful reflection on their impact in your life. As whānau now had time to apply their energies in other areas it was also a time for whakahou (renewal), whaiwhakaaro (reflection) and auaha (innovation).
In our day, Matariki has become a time of revitalisation and resurgence of te reo Māori and mātauranga Māori, a chance for celebration and kotahitanga. It is an opportunity for whānau to reflect on the past year and make plans for the future.
Here are five Matariki activities from the Heart Foundation that you can get involved with during this celebration season to help improve your health and wellbeing throughout Matariki.
- Cook with traditional Māori vegetables
Acknowledge the value of healthy kai as a taonga for achieving wellbeing. Traditional vegetables include Kūmara, Taewa (Māori potatoes), Kamo Kamo, Taro, Puha (similar to cabbage) and Uwhi (yam). These vegetables can be used in combination with other ingredients to make delicious and healthy meals for whānau and friends.
- Explore the outdoors
Matariki was a time to learn about the natural world. Today, one way we can embrace this tradition is by creating an edible garden. Growing your own veges, fruit or herbs is simple and satisfying. It’s a fun way to keep active, eat well and learn about seasonality. You may be able to offer some helping hands at a community garden in your area.
- Spend time with kids in the kitchen
It is important for children to learn the skill of cooking. During Matariki, tribal traditions and teachings were traditionally passed from one generation to the next. Now is a great time to get together with children and teach them to prepare recipes that have been passed down as favourites in your family.
- Set exercise goals
Along with eating well, physical activity is essential for maintaining a healthy lifestyle. It increases your quality of life and your sense of wellbeing. Embrace the theme of new beginnings – take time to set exercise goals and develop a plan to achieve them.
- Get involved
People gathered together during Matariki to survive the winter months. There are many exciting events that take place throughout the Matariki Festival such as kite making, storytelling, dance performances, arts and crafts. Keep an eye out for events in your community and enjoy spending time with your whānau and friends. You can find out what Matariki activities are happening in your local area here.
Another great Matariki resource is Pipiri Ki A Papatūānuku. #pkpthatsme
Their kaupapa is about dedicating one lunar cycle to giving back to te taiao – our environment.
You are invited to register and commit to at least one action that will make a positive change to the environment this Matariki.