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The Seven Stars of Matariki

The Seven Stars of Matariki

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The Seven Stars of Matariki, written by Toni Rolleston-Cummins, is the story of the Māori New year and the origins of the Matariki constellation according to Māori legend.

An adventurous young man called Mitai lives with his seven handsome brothers in the village of Maketu. Mitai watches his brothers become bewitched by seven beautiful women. The spell the brothers were under meant they could no longer eat, work or hunt. Realising the women are patupaiarehe, fairy women, he knows they must be cast far away. They are given to Urutengangana, the god of the stars, who places them in the heavens farthest from the earth. Only once a year, at winter solstice, he allows their beauty to shine in the eastern sky as the seven stars of Matariki.

Known around the world as the Pleiades, the seven stars of Matariki are a cluster of stars that rise in mid-winter. The constellation begins to rise in the last few days of May. This symbolises the coming of the Māori New Year. Some iwi start celebrations when the seven stars of Matariki are first seen, however it is the first new moon after Matariki that officially signals the Māori New Year.

Pages: 27
ISBN: 9781869693275

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