Freshwater Eel, colour. Anguilla reinhardti (Steindachner)

Learning to live by the Maramataka: Pēpuere

The blue moki are running and the tuna are returning to the sea. We’re entering the fifth phase of summer.

Ngā mihi o te wā e te whānau! We are in the ninth lunar month of Pēpuere and at the end of the summer phase Matiti Kaiwai, moving to Matiti Raurehu. Kaiwai, the fourth phase, indicates the middle of raumati (summer) and Raurehu is when the tohu (signs) of white dust-like substance resembling frost begins to appear. This is not as noticeable but in the mornings it can be seen on the lawn. This tohu indicates another transition in raumati. There are seven summer phases in total, each with tohu and significance. 

Seven summer phases

Matiti Kura – First summer phase triggered by the ripening of small red berries in the bush, usually around the end of October.

Matiti Hana – This second phase is known when the puawānanga or puareinga flowers (Clematis) turn the top canopy of the forest white.

Matiti Muramura – This third phase is the flowering of the Northern rātā and pōhutukawa. The canopy turns from white (Hana) to red (Muramura).

Matiti Kaiwai – This is the middle of summer when the ground is so dry it opens and thirsts for water.

Matiti Raurehu – This fifth phase is the most difficult to detect and usually occurs in early February. It is recognisable by a white dust-like substance on the lawn that resembles frost.

Matiti Rautapata – This sixth phase is easy to identify if you are near a bush area when the seed pods burst and the seeds fall (tapata) onto the dry leaf bed below.

Matiti Rauangina – The last phase of summer and easy to identify. The leaves sway as they fall from the trees and the rhythmic dance is called te angina (free fall). 

Key maramataka dates (Auckland)

7, 8 and 9 February – Oturu, Rakaunui and Rākau ma tohi: The highest energy days which are based around the full moon. Make the most of these productive days and get your to-do list done! We are usually in the garden as this is also the best time to plant. 

12, 13 and 14 February – Korekore tē whiwhia, Korekore tē rawea and Korekore piri ki ngā tangaroa: These are low energy days similar to Whiro. Take it easy as this is a time to rest, plan and reflect. Be careful, this is also not a good time to plant.

15, 16 and 17 February – Tangaroa a mua, Tangaroa a roto and Tangaroa kiokio: The fruitful days are ideal for fishing and planting. I love these days as they are positive and productive, a great time with whānau and friends and near the water if you can. Also good planting days.

22 February – Whiro: The Whiro moon is the new moon indicating the beginning of the next lunar cycle, a time to rest and create your next nanakia (cunning) plan. Whiro is the lowest energy day of the month.

The traditional stories of Whiro are that this moon was a mischievous atua (god) who likes to trick people. Our elders take caution and fear this time but also admire Whiro’s beauty. Whiro’s position at sunrise and sunset could also indicate rain patterns for the month ahead to our tūpuna who studied and observed the moon (Wiremu Tawhai, Living by the moon, 2013). Tau kē!

27, 28 and 29 February – Tamatea a ngana, Tamatea a hotu, Tamatea a io and Tamatea kai ariki: The weather can be very unpredictable. This could also be the same for people’s feelings and emotions.

Tohu in Pēpuere 

Tohu o te whenua (signs on land)

You may notice another tohu from Matiti Rautapata. Rautapata, unlike Raurehu, can be easy to detect in the ngahere or bush areas when tree pods burst and fall (tapata) to the floor. 

Tohu o te rangi (signs in the sky):

There will be two stars visible soon. Whānui (Vega) which is our harvest star is due to rise on 2 March and Poutūterangi (Altair) you can see most of the year but is more visible from 16 February.

Tohu o te moana (signs in the water)

Kahawai season is coming to an end. Blue Moki run February to March and tuna heke/ōrea (eel) start to migrate to the sea.



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