In Celebration of Matariki – How to Honour the Holiday

Fundamentally, Matariki represents togetherness. Pipiri (June), the month of Matariki, means ‘to draw close’ due to the cold temperature. To honour Matariki and stay true to the meaning of the holiday, here are some fulfilling and fun ways to celebrate.

Enjoy kai with friends and whanau.

Kai (food) and Manaakitanga (hospitality and generosity) has always been closely tied to Matariki because the cold temperature historically represented the end of the planting year, and therefore the time to gather and enjoy food that was harvested and stored throughout the year. Here are some recipes that incorporate traditional Māori ingredients:

Take time to remember loved ones who have passed away.

The Pohutukawa star that sits amongst the Matariki cluster represents our loved ones who have passed away. Reflecting, sharing memories and lighting a candle for those who are no longer physically here is a significant part of celebrating Matariki.

Let go of burdens and focus on moving forward.

“All the things that weren’t done or accomplished during the previous year, anything that you wasted energy on, you put it to sleep so that it no longer bothers you. That’s the first thing you do before you open up the new year,” says Rereata Makiha of Te Māhurehure, Te Aupōuri and Te Arawa.


The best time to observe Matariki on Friday, 24th June is just before dawn between 6.00 – 7.00am. Here is an informative video on how to locate Matariki:
Even if you can’t see Matariki, spending time outside and underneath the stars is a fulfilling way to feel connected to the holiday.

Attend an event.

From the end of June to the middle of July, there are a range of events around Aotearoa celebrating and honouring Matariki. Find something that suits you and your whanau here:

Say ‘Happy Matariki’ in te reo.

The te reo translation of ‘Happy Matariki’ is Ngā mihi o Matariki, te tau hou Māori. Practice saying it leading up to Matariki and incorporate it wherever you can. Your pronunciation doesn’t have to be perfect to be genuine!

How Whitecliffe will honour Matariki

To acknowledge the reappearance of Matariki on the 21st June and mark the start of celebrations, all Whitecliffe staff will be invited to an online korero (discussion). Speakers will lead conversations that will encourage our team to reflect on the past year and in particular, remember our loved ones who have passed away.

On the 23rd June, the day before our first national public holiday honouring Matariki, staff will be welcomed to a shared lunch which will be a time to gather together. The lunch will represent the practice of sharing stored food from the harvest. Additionally, our team will be invited to write down their aspirations and hopes for the year ahead. We can look back on these aspirations as reflections at next year’s Matariki celebration.

Talk to our team

IMG 7970

If you would like to ask us a question or request more information, please detail your enquiry using the form below. If you would like you can contact us directly on 0800 800 300, email us or use the contact us form.

Apply Online

Apply online today to study at New Zealand's leading private Arts, Design Fashion and Technology school, producing the highest quality graduates and shaping exceptional creative citizens.