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Celebrating Matariki!

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This year, the first public holiday to celebrate Matariki will be on Friday 24 June.

Inaugural annual public holiday to celebrate Matariki - Friday 24 June!

Matariki, an abbreviation of ‘Ngā Mata o te Ariki Tāwhirimātea (‘The eyes of the god Tāwhirimātea’), is the Māori name for the cluster of stars also known as the Pleiades. 

Māori tradition tells us a story, that the god of the wind, Tāwhirimātea, was so angry when his siblings separated their parents, Ranginui the sky father and Papatūānuku the earth mother, that he tore out his eyes and threw them into the heavens. 

For many Māori, Matariki heralds the start of a new year. Matariki usually takes place mid-winter, from late May to early July, varying according to tribes and geography. 

Matariki is an awesome chance for us to: 

  • Māharatia - reflect  

  • Whakanuia- celebrate 

  • Wawatatia – aspire 

Matariki is now a New Zealand Public Holiday

Te Pire mō te Hararei Tūmatanui o te Kāhui o Matariki - Te Kāhui o Matariki Public Holiday Bill adds a 12th public holiday to New Zealand's working year, recognising the Māori body of knowledge around the period on the Māori lunar calendar. This year, the first public holiday to celebrate Matariki will be on Friday 24 June. Check out the agreed dates for the Matariki holiday beginning in 2022. 

Instituting the first national holiday that specifically recognises and celebrates mātauranga Māori with the Treaty of Waitangi at heart, is a great step into a more progressive, equitable and equal future for Aotearoa.


Matariki in the Workplace

Māharatia - Reflect 

Matariki is a wonderful time to slow down, reflect on the year we have just had, remember, and honor the loved ones we have lost. 

In the workplace, it’s a great opportunity for us, as part of businesses, families, and communities, to reflect on the good, the not-so-good, the people who have made a difference, and those we miss. The last year has been a challenging period with many changes and challenges, such as the surge of Omicron, the new Covid traffic light system, Immigrations updates with 2021 Resident visas and the new Accredited Employer Work Visa (AEWV), the border reopening, and much more. 

Whakanuia - Celebrate 

Iwi across New Zealand understand and celebrate Matariki in different ways and at different times. Matariki is a perfect time to get together, check in and share stories and kai (food).  

The first and easiest way to encourage Matariki celebrations in your workplace is to ask “How are you going to celebrate Matariki? Any plans?” Now that Matariki is recognised as a public holiday, it is the perfect opportunity for Kiwis to celebrate with their whānau and friends. 

Things you can do in the workplace: 

  • Have a potluck Matariki feast – Everyone brings kai to share 

  • Organize a team hui where everyone gathers around, sharing their achievements and goals 

  • Incorporate more te reo Māori into your day 

  • Have a Maramataka calendar in the office  

  • Promote local Matariki events, or hold your own 

  • Do a quiz with your team to see how much you know about Matariki! 

Find more ideas here

Wawatatia - Aspire 

Matariki is also a great time to think about our hopes and dreams for the future, and the steps we could take to work towards them. One of the nine stars of the Matariki cluster, Hiwa-i-te-rangi, is known as a wishing star. 

As Matariki is a new year event, get together with peers to make a new year resolution after reflecting on what has been done. It is a great chance for teams to sit down and come up with suggestions on what they can do to sustainably improve their business, especially during the the present challenges that we are all facing.



Understanding, recognizing, and celebrating Matariki is an important part of incorporating Māori cultures and values into HR practices and businesses. The value of Tikanga Māori in business is about concepts of sustainability, protecting the environment for the future, and giving back to communities. On top of this, Matariki provides the perfect opportunity to reflect on and celebrate your team's accomplishments and goals, especially during these difficult times, where employees are facing burn-out and fatigue, with the pandemic and shortages in the labour market. It goes without saying that everyone will appreciate having a day off, to celebrate this important event, to gather around whanāu and friends, and to remember loved ones.


Read further...

Tikanga – Maori Business Values - Sustainable Business Network 

A Kaupapa Maori Approach to Human Resource Management Practices in Aotearoa Workplaces – New Zealand Work Research Institute 

Tikanga Māori & HRM: How Māori culture can uplift HR and business – HRNZ Magazine 

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