There are 13 months in a traditional Māori year, measured by a lunar cycle

Māori also measure by nights rather than by days with a simple example being: āpōpō literally meaning after the night – i.e: tomorrow.

The Māori New Year starts with the new moon of the first month of the cold season, Pipiri. Pipiri being the month when people started to come together or to piri back at the main settlement after living in the various food gathering sites during summer and autumn in preparation for the cold months ahead.

Most Māori would call this celebration Matariki though throughout the Whanganui and Taranaki region it is called Puanga.  A celebration in the cold months is no different to the pagan celebrations of the northern hemisphere and the origins of what is now known as Christmas.

With a direct connection to another Pacific culture, the Japanese name for Matariki, Subaru, brings a close connection between the Whanganui sister city, Nagaizumi-cho, Shizuoka, Japan.


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