Matariki policy and procedures

Matariki policy and procedures can support your workplace to celebrate Matariki and progress its commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion.

Matariki is a significant event in Aotearoa. Widely known as the start of the Māori New Year, it marks the rising of the cluster of stars known as the Pleiades.

In Matariki opportunities and significance in the workplace, we covered the introduction of a new Public Holiday for Matariki in Aotearoa and that there are different traditions surrounding Matariki.  In this post, we consider how policy content and processes can be used to support the celebration of Mātariki in your workplace and more broadly, to help grow an inclusive and equitable organisational culture.

Cultural Awareness and Respect

If you haven’t already got a policy to reflect your organisation’s commitment to cultural diversity and inclusion, now is the time.  If you’re subject to the Social Sector Accreditation Standards or Health and Disability Standards or working in the education sector, the policy is a “must.”

Even if these standards don’t apply, a policy in this area is a good way to keep you compliant with your employment obligations, health and safety requirements and the Human Rights Act 1993. Not having a policy in this area, opens you to significant risks. You can DIY or contact the Policy Place for help.

For those who do have an existing diversity and inclusion or non-discrimination policy, you could incorporate guidance for honoring Matariki and provision for learning about Matariki and its significance for the local iwi.

Inclusive Celebrations

You could create procedures that encourage inclusive celebrations and events centered around Matariki. The planning and organisation of these activities should respect the protocols of local iwi and reflect collaboration with Māori staff and cultural advisors.

Learning and Development Opportunities

Learning and development should be a part of your diversity and inclusion policy.  You could add in specific reference to learning and development about local traditions relating to Matariki.

There’s always lots happening in Matariki. It’s a great chance for your workplace to engage in local celebrations, cultural workshops, Te Reo Māori classes and other wananga/educational initiatives to deepen cultural understanding and knowledge.

Engagement with Māori 

Engagement and collaboration with Māori during Matariki and beyond is a Treaty obligation for government-funded Tau Iwi/non-Māori services.  The nature of the engagement should be negotiated and reinforced by policy and processes and may include formalised partnerships with hapū, iwi and Māori serves, a system of parallel development (Kaupapa Māori and mainstream) participation in community events, and support for initiatives promoting te reo Māori and cultural revitalization.

Display and Communication

Create procedures in your policy for displaying appropriate Matariki-related symbols, links and messaging on your physical and online sites.  Visual representations must be culturally respectful and align with Māori protocol.

There are a lot of resources and information about Matariki available. For example, check this and the official Matariki website out.


As we know, the challenge with policies and procedures is not just to develop them. You also have to  implement them and get your staff/kaimahi onboard. To effectively integrate Matariki-focused policies and procedures, consider:

  • involving staff/kaimahi and cultural advisors in review and evaluation’
  • training and educational resources for the workplace and your service users about Matariki eg  workshops, guest speakers, or online modules that promote cultural awareness and sensitivity
  • information and updates about how to ensure consistency with and respect for ngā tikanga me te reo Māori in workplace conduct and processes like training; complaints and disputes resolution.

Review and Evaluation of Matariki policies and procedures

Regularly review and evaluate the effectiveness of your Matariki policy content and procedures. Seek feedback from your staff and those you engage with to enable you to build on what’s working and improve as necessary.


It’s important that incorporation of Matariki into your organisational policies and procedures represents a genuine commitment to achieving cultural diversity, respect, and inclusivity in the workplace.

Embracing Matariki and its cultural significance in your workplace is one way to honor the rich cultural heritage of Aotearoa. It can help you to foster a sense of belonging, strengthen relationships with hapū, iwi and help you build an environment that is appreciative of diverse cultural knowledge and traditions.