Matariki Puanga

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Tērā Puanga ka rewa i te pae
Nau mai, hara mai ngā hua o te tau hou
Tākiri ko te ata, ka pua te ata
Korihi te manu tino awatea
Ko te tangi mai o te kō,  
Ko korimako i te atatū,  
Tū ka takatū ki te ao mārama
Tēnei te raukura, tēnei te rauhuia, tēnā koutou katoa

In the last few years, Aotearoa New Zealand has embraced the celebration of Matariki, the Māori New Year. In response, as mana whenua, we’d like to share some of the whakaaro (thinking) about the authentic Matariki tradition in Te Upoko o te Ika a Māui (the Wellington region), and about the lesser-known single star Puanga.

Ngāti Toa and Te Āti Awa ki te Upoko o te Ika a Māui, alongside the councils of the Wellington region, have come together in acknowledgment of the shared significance of Matariki and Puanga.

We invite you and your whānau, iwi and communities to share in our knowledge and tikanga and explore the ways that we can all celebrate and uplift Matariki and Puanga this year.

Kura Moeahu
Tiamana (Chairman), Te Rūnanganui o Te Āti Awa ki te Upoko o Te Ika a Māui

Dr. Te Taku Parai
Pou Tikanga, Te Rūnanga o Toa Rangatira

What is Puanga?

The celebration of Matariki, the Māori New Year, dates back over 700 years and is accompanied by long-established traditions. In Te Upoko o Te Ika (Wellington region), some mana whenua celebrate the rising of both Puanga and Matariki.

Puanga is a single whetū (star). While not part of the Matariki cluster, Puanga appears in the evening sky shortly before Matariki rises each year. Puanga rises higher in the sky than Matariki so it’s recognised by hapū and iwi that are unable to see Matariki from their location. Traditionally, the brightness and clarity of the stars are seen as an indicator of the favourability of conditions of the environment and the abundance of the harvest in the coming year.

The story of Puanga is being restored as part of the Matariki celebration and with the combined efforts of national experts and iwi leaders.

Why we celebrate Matariki Puanga

Matariki Puanga celebrates our unique location in Te Upoko o Te Ika. The shape of the landscape means that in some areas only Puanga can be seen, like in Waiwhetū here in Te Awa Kairangi ki Tai Lower Hutt, home to Te Āti Awa ki te Upoko o te Ika a Māui. On the west coast in Porirua, within the boundaries of Ngāti Toa Rangatira, Matariki is clearly visible. And being a region surrounded by hills and mountain ranges, there are many vantage points where both are visible – here in Te Whanganui a Tara we have something special!

The topographical lines within our Matariki Puanga designs are unique to Te Awa Kairangi ki Tai Lower Hutt. The lines represent the form of Pukeatua, a sacred peak to Mana Whenua, that we all know as Wainuiomata Hill.

Applications now open for Matariki Puanga Events!

This fund supports and encourages the hosting of community to celebrate Matariki Puanga, the Māori New Year, in 2024. We want to promote whānau-friendly events that bring people together to commemorate this significant date in Aotearoa New Zealand's calendar.

We want to support events that:

  • Showcase our city assets; being held in a venue or public space in Lower Hutt and take place within the observance of Matariki Puanga,
  • Embraces the values of Matariki Puanga; creating positive outcomes for the community,
  • Supports local organisations and businesses
  • Is accessible and inclusive (free or minimal entry fee),
  • Complies with regulatory requirements relating to the planning and delivery of an event in Lower Hutt,
  • Demonstrate a commitment to environmentally sustainable practices
    • Events must be smokefree
    • Events expecting over 1,000 guests must have a waste management  and minimistation plan, these need to be approved by council prior to your event

All successful events will be promoted in an Event Calender shared on our website and in our Neighbourhood Hubs

What we're offering

Cash investment of up to $3,000

Event advice from Council officers

Marketing of your event

How to apply

Fill in this online application form - tell us about you, your business or organisation and your idea! We need to understand how it will work and how it represents the values of Matariki Punaga and will benefit the community.

Applications will be assessed as they are received. Successful applicants will be notified of approval within 2 business days.

Visit our Event Support Fund page for information on Funding Rules and What we Don't Fund

Pātai? Contact us


Hautapu or umu kohukohu whetū is a ceremony practised during Matariki Puanga. Its purpose is to make an offering to the stars. Usually, this offering consists of karakia and kai.

Traditionally, it was the responsibility of our tāne to ensure that the feast was top-notch. This was seen as the ultimate display of manaakitanga and aroha for loved ones. This is the perfect opportunity for our men to step into the shoes of our ancestors and show your love, care and appreciation for your whānau.

The hautapu consists of three phases: preparing, offering, and eating kai. Gather your whānau around the table and recite the karakia below at any of the phases.

Karakia mō Matariki

Manawa maiea te putanga o Matariki,
Manawa maiea te ariki o te rangi,
Manawa maiea te mātahi o te tau,
Kia puta ki te whai ao ki te ao mārama

Karakia mō Puanga

Tērā Puanga ka rewa i te pae
He tohu ki te ao
Ka poroporoaki te pō
Ka mihi ki te tau hou
Ka rewa a Puanga, kia hono kia Matariki

Growing your own food is a great way to prepare for hautapu. Now is the time to enjoy the fruits of your labour, and sharing your harvest with friends and whānau can be especially rewarding. This is also a great time to plan for spring and consider what to plant.

In the past, it was common practice to offer food from the gardens to the community hautapu ceremony as a way of showing gratitude for the gifts provided by the environment. By setting aside some of your harvest for the hautapu, you can bring back this tradition and apply it in your own whānau and community.

The rising of Puanga and the Matariki star cluster is a time for rememberance,  celebrating the present and looking to the future.

We encourage events that bring whānau together to share kōrero and kai. Matariki is about reconnecting and remind us of our responsibility to the places we call home.

  • Aroha Love and respect for one another
  • Whakamaumaharatanga Remembrance
  • Kotahitanga Unity
  • Tohatoha Sharing
  • Mana Taiao Environmental awareness
  • Hākari Feasting
  • Wānanga Discussion
  • Noho tahi Coming together
  • Atawhaitanga Kindness
  • Whakanui Celebration
  • Tuakiritanga Identity