24 June - Pipiri, Puanga, Matariki - our Aotearoa Pacific New Year 2009
Puanga, Matariki celebrates the diversity of life.
It's a celebration of culture, language, spirit and people.
The pre-dawn rise of Puanga, Matariki can be seen in the last few days of May every year.
The new moon can be seen for the first time on these dates.
In Taranaki it is called Puanga. For Taranaki, Puanga or Rigel is the star that signifies the beginning of the Maori New Year.
Puanga, Matariki is our Aotearoa Pacific New Year.
Matariki is the name for a small cluster of tiny stars also known as the Pleiades. Astronomers generally refer to Matariki as Pleaides.
This cluster of stars is well known across the globe, signifies Maori new year, acts as a key navigation beacon for ocean voyagers, as well as an important signal for seasonal celebration in many countries.
The cluster is a group of many hundreds of stars about 400 light years from Earth and has been recognised since ancient times.
The brightest stars are quite easy to see with the unaided eye in Greek legend bear the names of
Seven Sisters, the daughters of Atlas and Pleone, Alcyone, Merope, Asterops, Maia, Taygeta, Calaeno and Electra. For Taranaki Puanga or Rigel is the star that signifies the beginning of the Maori New Year.