Matariki opportunities and significance in the workplace

June 24, 2022 is going to be the first day on which we celebrate Matariki as a country. It’s our first official indigenous public holiday and the first time we recognise the Māori calendar – maramataka.

The intention to legislate for Matariki was announced on 4 February 2021. It became law last night – Te Pire mō te Hararei Tūmatanui o te Kāhui o Matariki/Te Kāhui o Matariki Public Holiday Act.

What Matariki means for your workplace

Dates will change

The holiday is not always going to be 24 June.  It’s going to be observed annually on the dates set out in the legislation for the next 30 years and beyond.

There’s different traditions 

Don’t assume there is only one way to celebrate Matariki or that it means the same for everyone.

Yes, it’s a constellation of stars seen in the Tangaroa lunar phase of the month of Pipiri, which is usually around June and July. But it is celebrated differently in different areas/rohe of Aotearoa.

It is widely known as the start of the Māori New Year. But there are many traditions across iwi and hapū. In Taranaki, for example, Matariki is known as Puanga. It’s regarded as a time to recognise all the ones we’ve lost over the last year. It acknowledges the rhythm of winter – the need to get crops and kai/food ready to hunker down for the cold.

Opportunities of Matariki

You can gear up for Matariki in the workplace and use it as a platform to support cultural competency and understanding of Te Tiriti o Waitangi and mātauranga Māori amongst staff.

Find out how Matariki is celebrated in the rohe/area of your workplace and encourage staff to share about its significance to them.

If you’re a business looking for commercial opportunities consider profit with purpose – how your service or product can contribute to growing awareness and understanding of Matariki and other indigenous traditions of Aotearoa.

The official marking of Matariki could be the first big step towards restoring the Māori calendar – maramataka in Aotearoa/NZ.  Maramataka, unlike the Gregorian calendar, is based on the land and rhythms of Aotearoa and the Pacific. Are there other opportunities to observe Maramataka in your work/mahi?

So Matariki brings opportunities – to celebrate, reflect, learn and advance. Let’s plan for it now.

For more about Matariki and what it means check out these resources:

Matariki classroom resources

Matariki public holiday passes into law

Listen Matariki and Māori Astronomy with Dr Rangi Matamua