Living By The Stars Season 1

  • Māori Now Original
  • 20 Episodes

In Aotearoa, Matariki signalled the changing of the year. During this time our ancestors conducted ceremonies that mourned the dead, replenished our gods and made forecasts for the upcoming year. Today Matariki is being celebrated across Aotearoa, and is now a part of our national identity.


Hōtaka 1 - Te Whānau Mārama

Māori referred to the celestial bodies as Te Whānau Mārama, or The Family of Light. Tune in to see how they are connected to Matariki, the star of the year.

Hōtaka 2 - Matariki, He Tohu Mate

Towards the end of the Māori new year, Matariki disappears from the sky for about a month. Our tīpuna believed that Matariki was preparing our loved ones that had passed away during the year.

Hōtaka 3 - Maramataka ā-whetū

Did you know, that Māori months are named after stars? Certain stars signalled which month we were in, and moon phases signalled the individual days within the month.

Hōtaka 4 - Te Rewanga ā-maru o Matariki

The heliacal rising of a star occurs annually when it briefly becomes visible above the eastern horizon at dawn just before sunrise, after a period of less than a year when it had not been visible. During the early mornings of Pipiri, when the moon was in the Tangaroa phase, Māori would wait for Matariki to appear in the eastern sky, marking the changing of the year.

Hōtaka 5 - Te Tikanga o Matariki

Of the pantheon of gods who were present when Ranginui was forced from Papatūānuku only Tāwhirimātea disagreed. What does the god of the winds and weather have to do with Matariki?!

Hōtaka 6 - Pōhutukawa

Pōhutukawa. When someone hears the name pōhutukawa, they think of the red flowered tree that grows by the moana. But how has pōhutukawa found its way into the Matariki star cluster?

Hōtaka 7 - Tipuānuku & Tipuārangi

Our ancestors referred to Tipuānuku & Tipuārangi as food bringing stars, or, ’whetū heri kai mai’. They were said to be the source of the food’s vitality, but what types of food?

Hōtaka 8 - Waitī & Waitā

Our ancestors would say that when Matariki sits just above the water horizon it has significant influence over tides of the ocean and the floodwaters. When Matariki rises on the horizon, Waitī & Waitā would be analysed by our ancestors to gauge expectations for certain food sources for the year to come, but what types of food sources?

Hōtaka 9 - Waipunarangi & Ururangi

Our ancestors knew there was a connection between the elements & the Matariki cluster. They would make detailed observations of Ururangi & Waipunarangi to forecast specific aspects of the weather for the year ahead. Tune in as we discover the specific connection these 2 stars have to the weather.

Hōtaka 10 - Hiwaiterangi

There are two sacred stars within the Matariki cluster and Hiwaiterangi is one of them. Tune in as we discover the specific connection this star has to Māori and why she is one of the most sacred stars of the cluster.

Hōtaka 11 - Matariki me ana Tamariki

Matariki, the mother of the 8 interstellar children that make up Te Huihui o Matariki. Placed in the centre, she guides her children across the sky, night after night.

Tune in as we discover how our ancestors made sense of each star and it’s specific place in the cluster

Hōtaka 12 - Matariki me Puanga

There is the belief that the star Puanga (Rigel) is in the true marker of the Māori New Year. While this is the case in some rohe, other rohe, follow a different marker to indicate the new year. Join me as we talk more about Matariki & Puanga

Hōtaka 13 - Matariki me te Rongoā

In this day and age, when we get sick we go to straight to the doctor. We believe that modern medicine has the cure for any sickness that we may have. But what did our ancestors do? Where and who did they go to to seek advice on health and well-being?

Tune in as we discuss the connection between Matariki and traditional Māori medicine

Hōtaka 14 - Matariki me te Kai

Matariki has a very special association with kai, join me as we explore the connections between the Matariki cluster and our kai.

Hōtaka 15 - Whāngai i te Hautapu

When Matariki would rise, the gods would be fed with the practice of whāngai hau; ‘an offering of ceremonial food to an atua’. Tune in as we explore the connections between the Matariki cluster and our ceremonial offerings

Hōtaka 16 - Ngā Hua o te Tau

Our ancestors knew how to interpret the signs of the stars by observing each star of Matariki. A star’s haziness, brightness or clarity are all signs, telling us what to expect in the year ahead. Tune in as we explore the connections between the Matariki cluster and the bounty of the year.

Hōtaka 17 - Matariki i te ao o uki

Throughout the ancient world, the Pleiades was imbedded into the beliefs and traditions of many indigenous peoples. There is a connection that exists between our fellow indigenous people of the world, which is echoed in our cultures, in our environment, in our arts, in our religious practises and evidently, in the stars.

Hōtaka 18 - Matariki me te Moana-nui-a-Kiwa

Matariki was among a select group of stars that were observed by early navigators when travelling throughout the islands of Polynesia. Tune in to explore Matariki and it’s place in Polynesia.

Hōtaka 19 - Matariki me te whakatere waka

During the time of our ancestors, approximately 200 waka landed on the shores of Aotearoa. This is a testament to their excellence and expertise in the knowledge of the celestial bodies that enabled those 200 waka to arrive in Aotearoa all the way from Hawaiki. Tune in to explore Matariki and navigation

Hōtaka 20 - Te Anamata o Matariki

Matariki is more than an environmental indicator that predicts the new season’s growth. It’s more than a symbol of unity, togetherness and hope. Matariki transcends boundary, religion, political agenda and even race.

Perhaps the future of Matariki is best portrayed in the following proverb: Matariki ki tua o ngā whetū, Matariki of endless possibilities.