Matariki Activities for the Whole Family

Matariki Activities - flax star weaving

Participating in Matariki activities with your family and friends is a beautiful way to celebrate this special occasion.

Each year between June to July, the star cluster Matariki appears in our skies, signalling the Māori New Year. A time to come together with your loved ones and community, Matariki lends itself to celebrations in many forms.

Food, fun and games, and reflecting on the past year and the year to come are some of the common things people do. We thought we’d identify some of the art and craft related Matariki activities that you could do with your kids at home.

The Matariki Star Cluster

For some people the Matariki star cluster is made up of seven stars, while for others it’s nine.

The information below and in other sources will differ because different iwi share different history regarding Matariki. Some iwi are unable to see Matariki from their region, while some iwi welcome the new year with a star named Puanga.

We will acknowledge the nine stars in Matariki constellation:

  • Matariki, eyes of Tāwhirimātea
  • Tupu-ā-rangi, sky tohunga
  • Waipuna-ā-rangi, sky spring
  • Waitī, sweet water
  • Tupu-ā-nuku, Earth tohunga
  • Ururangi, entry to the heavens
  • Waitā, sprinkle of water

Harder to spot, are Pōhutukawa and Hiwa-i-te-rangi. To help you find the cluster, watch this video:

The appearance of the cluster is a sign that it is time to begin planting crops again, based upon the stars’ appearances. If they were clear and bright, you could plant in September. If they were hazy and bunched together, then planting should wait until October. To recognise and celebrate the traditions associated with Matariki, we’ve put together seven activities you could do as a family.

7 Matariki Activities for Kids

  1. Flax star weaving – create a collection of harakeke whetu to hang in your window! We love this video from Little Kiwis Nature Play which shows the steps to take to weave your own stars.
  2. Star wall hanging – a great way to get some outdoors time. Hunt around your garden for some relatively straight sticks or visit the beach to collect some driftwood. You can either hang star shapes from individual sticks or combine sticks together for a large display.
  3. Glitter slime – make a batch of slime from our slime recipe, add some eco-friendly glitter, and have sparkly messy fun! Why not make your slime dark blue and the glitter silver for some night sky slime!
  4. Tissue Paper Matariki Stars – we loved making our own tissue paper stars last year! Why not give these a go too!
    Our gorgeous tissue paper Matariki star hanging on our window
  5. Kite flying – kites are what connects heaven and earth together, so flying kites at Matariki is very traditional. Either build a kite from scratch or use one you already have at home and spend some time outside during the day having fun.
    Flying a kite: a fun Matariki activity for the whole family
  6. Button stars – draw a star outline on a piece of black paper. Glue a collection of buttons to the shape. Choosing a specific colour or shade works well, such as white and cream or gold and silver.
  7. String games – a lovely way to spend an afternoon is playing some Maori string games (also known as whai, huhi, or maui). We found Purerehua (Butterfly) fun to master and it has a lovely waiata to sing alongside the game. Both the instructions and the song can be found here.

What Matariki activities will you try this year? We’d love to know, so drop us a note in the comments below.

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2 thoughts on “Matariki Activities for the Whole Family

    • Alana from Mud Mates says:

      Thanks Gay. Yes, some are for older children but but hopefully parents and children can work together to enjoy the activities.

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