As artists, we are always looking for places to draw inspiration. So with Matariki on the horizon, we are excited to share our latest collection inspired by this special time in the Māori lunar calendar.
Matariki is the Māori name for the cluster of stars also known as Pleiades. For many Māori, the mid-winter rising of the Matariki stars in the night sky signals the beginning of the New Year - a time of celebration, observance and renewal. This usually takes place in the period June-July. As well as a celebratory time, Matariki is also a time to give thanks for the previous year and to remember those who have died.
Inspired by the stars of Matariki
In Māori tradition, there are nine stars in the Matariki cluster, and legend tells one star is the mother, and the other eight, her children. The name Matariki refers to both the star cluster as a whole and the mother of the stars. The children are named Pōhutukawa, Tupuānuku, Tupuārangi, Waitī, Waitā, Waipunarangi, Ururangi and Hiwaiterangi. Each of the nine stars has a distinct story and defined purpose connected to the Māori world.
When the moon is in the correct phase in Pipiri (the first lunar month of the Māori year), the Matariki stars are looked to for guidance for the year ahead. If one star is brighter than the others, food from that source will be plentiful, or the weather will be good. If a star is dim or missing, the outcomes represented by that star will be poor. Māori respect nature and feel a deep connection to the land, sea and forests. They believe the rhythms of Papatūānuku (Mother Earth) can be understood by reading the Matariki stars and phases of the moon.
The names of each of the nine stars in the Matariki cluster are significant for Māori, as each individual has a defined purpose and unique role connected to the Māori world.
DESIGNED BY tAMAORA wALKER
When designing this limited-edition collection, Tamaora Walker drew inspiration from the names of the stars in the Matariki cluster and created nine one-of-a-kind carvings.
Carved in Rotorua
The nine pieces which make up our Matariki Collection were all designed by Tamaora Walker and carved by himself or Akapita Scally in our Rotorua studio. For Tamaora, creating this collection was about drawing light to kaupapa Māori (Māori topics) - and through his art, this collection brings old knowledge, stories and traditions to the present. Tamaora believes that art can tie important topics into something physical and more relatable– something more than just words on paper. Moving to the future, he looks forward to drawing on different kaupapa Māori to create pieces of art with deeper meaning.
EXHIBIT 9TH JUNE - 11TH JULY 21
Our Matariki Collection will be on exhibit in our Rotorua studio from 9th June to 11th July 2021. Carvings can be reserved (pre-purchased) online or in-store and will be shipped once the exhibition has closed.
MOUNTAIN JADE | MATARIKI COLLECTION 2021
Inspired by the star Matariki
The star Matariki is the whaea (mother) of the other eight stars in the cluster. This star is connected to well-being, good fortune, and health, and when it is seen high and bright in the night sky it denotes peace and good luck.
Matariki huarahi ki te oranga tangata. Matariki, pathway to the well-being of man.
Inspired by the star Pōhutukawa
Pōhutukawa is one of the stars in the Matariki cluster and is the star that connects Matariki to the dead. It carries those who've passed away since the last heliacal rising of Matariki in Pipiri. Māori belief determines that the spirits of the dead leave the body and undertake a journey along Te Ara Wairua - The Pathway of Spirits. Near the ocean, the journey ends where an ancient Pōhutukawa tree stands - the dead descend the tree root into the underworld.
It is through Pōhutukawa that we remember those who have died in the past year.
Inspired by the star Tupuānuku
Tupuānuku is the star connected to food that grows in the ground. “Tupu” means “to grow” and “nuku” is a shortened version of Papatūānuku (Mother Earth).
Therefore, Tupuānuku means to grow in the earth.
Ngā mata o te ariki | the eyes of the god
Legend tells, when Tāwhirimātea (god of the winds and weather) discovered that Ranginui (sky father) and Papatūānuku (earth mother) had split from their deep embrace, he ripped out his eyes, smashed them into pieces and stuck them onto the chest of the sky. To this day, they twinkle as Matariki.
Inspired by the star Tupuārangi
Tupuārangi is the star connected to the harvesting of food that comes from the sky and above your head - such as birds and fruit.
During the rising of Matariki, kererū (New Zealand pigeon) were harvested, cooked and preserved in their own fat.
Inspired by the star Waitī
Waitī is the star connected to freshwater and the food that comes from within our rivers, streams, and lakes.
For Māori, tuna (eels) are culturally significant and an important source of food.
Inspired by the star Waitā
“Wai” is the Māori word for water, and in this circumstance “tā” means salt. The star is connected to the many kinds of food that are gathered from the sea and saltwater. It is also said that when Matariki sits just above the water horizon, it will significantly impact the ocean tides and floodwaters.
Whai (stingray) are seen as an ocean kaitiaki (guardian), protecting areas where shellfish are harvested.
TAKE A CLOSER LOOK
If you look closely at each of the designs in our Matariki Collection, you will see a small star etched into the stone. It's Tamaora's way of forever connecting these pieces.
Inspired by the star Waipunarangi
Waipunarangi translates to “water that pools in the sky” and the star connects the cluster of Matariki to the rain. Waipunarangi would determine the nature of the rain for the upcoming year.
Roimata are named for their teardrop shape and hold a strong connection to the land.
Inspired by the star Ururangi
Ururangi means “winds of the sky” and therefore Ururangi is the star of the Matariki cluster which is connected to the winds.
Ururangi determines the nature of the winds for the upcoming year.
The dates of Matariki change each year as Māori follow the maramataka (Māori lunar calendar), and celebrations are dependent on the appearance of Pleiades in the sky. By following the maramataka, Māori allow the environment to dictate when it's ready for change – rather than imposing predetermined dates such as in the western solar calendar.
Inspired by the star Hiwaiterangi
Hiwaiterangi is the youngest of the stars in the Matariki cluster and is connected to the promise of a fortunate season. It is the star to send your wishes, dreams, and desires for the upcoming year - similar to the notion of wishing upon a star.
Hiwaiterangi is believed to be a sacred star as it is connected to the heart’s deepest desires.