Matariki kicks off with epic haka

  • 30/06/2018

Hundreds of people braved near freezing temperatures on Saturday morning to take part in a mass haka and welcome in the official start of Matariki.

School children from all over Auckland have spent weeks practising for Saturday morning's display in the Waitakere Ranges, attended by local iwi and the city's mayor, Phil Goff.

The dawn karakia and mass haka kick off the Māori New Year and mark the rise of the Matariki constellation in the night sky.

Matariki, meaning "eyes of God" is the name for a cluster of stars that signifies the start of the New Year to many Māori.

According to Māori myth, when the sky father Ranginui and earth mother Papatūānuku were separated by their children the god of winds Tāwhirimātea became so mad he tore his eyes out and threw them into the heavens. 

The stars are also known as Pleiades and rise in mid-winter, visible on the horizon at sunrise between July 6-9. 

Over the next three weeks Auckland will be host to more than 100 events to celebrate the occasion.