Indigenous | Puanga

Te Taitokerau celebrates Puanga, Māori new year

Iwi in Northland have celebrated the rising of the star constellation Puanga, marking the beginning of the Māori new year.

The re-emergence of the celebration comes off the back of revitalisation of knowledge of Matariki, which has grown in popularity.

Iwi in Northland and in places on the west coast celebrate Puanga as the star that heralds the emergence of Matariki. They rose early this morning in Onerahi to celebrate, remember and plan for the future.

Shaquille 'Pā' Shortland says it's been a year since the beginning of national Matariki celebrations, and many thanks are given to Dr Rangi Mātāmua who advocated for it.

"Without his research into Matariki, we wouldn't be celebrating the holiday. He played a crucial role in its establishment"

It's been a year of damaging rain, wind, and cyclones, Shortland remembers the signs he saw 12 months ago.

Northland iwi call upon the new year.

Action that follows

"Last year during Puanga, we witnessed a red glow which indicated heavy rainfall. This was confirmed during the big weather events that occurred"

"During sunrise this morning, I noticed the sky had a brownish tint, later on, we saw a variety of colours including green, which is a positive sign that the weather will improve."

Reuben Taipari is one of Northland's pre-eminent maramataka Māori practitioners. He says that while it's cool to look to the stars to read the signs, he believes there must be action that follows, on the ground.

"Learn, look, see, discuss, and give appreciation, those things that our elders adhered to, to be correct, true, and also love."

"Those of us in the region, Māori, foreigners, Chinese, no matter what, we all come together to discuss the path forward."