Since starting in 2001, early childhood centres, kohanga reo, primary and secondary schools, high schools, colleges, tertiary agencies and community groups gather to celebrate Te Reo Māori through activities and presentations.

For the Tumuaki of Te Wharekura o Maniapoto and one of the organisers of Whikoi mo te reo, whaea Hirere Moana, it is one of the most important kaupapa of the year.  “Kia whakarauora tō tātou reo me ngā kōrero o Matariki.  Kia mōhio te hāpori whānui kei te ora tō tātou nei reo ngā taonga tuku iho a Ruruhi ma ā Koroheke ma.  Kia whakaohōho ā tātou Uri kia mau ki ngā taonga tuku iho o Maniapoto he ahai “Kia tu Kahika ki te Pae”

The theme for this year, as is for each and every year was – Te Reo Māori.  “Encouraging our tamariki to stand, to speak and to hear te reo Māori”, says Moana.  The celebrations were held at Te Kūiti Pā and included presentations from schools and kohanga reo, followed by mass kapahaka which the tamariki (children) thoroughly enjoyed.  “Te whakakotahi ā tātou iwi me ngā hāpori o Maniapoto”, says Moana.

What is Matariki?

There are nine stars in the Matariki constellation. Each hold special significance over different areas of te taiao (environment). The stars are; Matariki, Pohutukawa, Waiti, Waita, Waipuna-a-rangi, Tupuanuku, Tupuarangi, Ururangi and Hiwa-i-te-rangi. Each star was viewed to gain insight into the coming year.

Matariki – signifies reflection, hope and our connection to the environment and gathering of people.

Pohutukawa – associated to those who have passed

Waiti – fresh water bodies and food sources that are sustained by those waters.

Waita – associated with the ocean and all food sources within it.

Waipuna-a-rangi – the star that is associated to the rain

Tupuanku – everything that grows within the soil that is to be harvested or gathered for food.

Tupuarangi – associated with everything that grows in the trees: fruits, berries, birds.

Ururangi – the star associated with the winds.

Hiwaiterangi – granting wishes, and realising our aspirations for the year ahead.