The new Māori calendar year begins on the first full moon after Matariki becomes visible on the eastern horizon. Matariki is a time to prepare the land for planting in the spring. Matariki also has great significance for ocean voyagers as a navigation beacon.
From early June, before sunrise, look to the north-east horizon. Look for a faint sparkle of tiny dots, about the same width as Tautoru is long… This is the Matariki star cluster.
Tohunga kōkōrangiTohunga kōkōrangi expert astronomers used stars and star clusters such as Matariki to help them navigate great distances across the Pacific. Today, there is a revival of these traditional navigation skills.