Learning to live by the maramataka: Haratua

Haratua/May is the 12th lunar month in the Māori year; a time to prepare for winter and Matariki.

Learn more about the maramataka, the Māori lunar calendar, here.

Kia ora tatōu! As we come out of noho tāpui/lockdown, and enter the moon cycle of Haratua, we welcome the 12th lunar month in the Māori year and head towards Matariki (Māori New Year). Haratua is a time for planning and preparing for the year ahead.

Most importantly, we reflect on the past month. Many of us have been getting stuck into the garden and going back to basics, so here are some tips for beginners and passionate learners of the maramataka.

Grow kūmara!

If you have a spare two minutes you can do this with a kūmara, two toothpicks and a cup of water. That’s my son with our kūmara plant at week 12 versus week two. Amazing how easy it was to grow!

Banana skin juice

You can make your own home fertiliser using banana skins and water. Cut your banana skins into pieces, cover in water and leave for three days then use on the garden. Plants love it!

Plant a māra kai (vegetable garden)

I could go on and on about why gardening is gangster, amazing and soulful and why growing your food is better for the planet! There is so much joy and pride in growing kai. With the hype around takeaways reopening, it’s even more important to shine light on home gardening.

Our māra kai one year on (featuring my twin sons)

Train and meditate with the maramataka

High-energy days are great for high-intensity workouts (physically active), and reflective low-energetic days are best for meditation, reading and studying (mentally active). Keep reading to see where your high- and low-energy days fall this month.

Key maramataka dates (Auckland)

May 5-7– Ōturu, Rakaunui and Rakau mā tohi: Super high energy. Everything you want to tick off on the to-do list, make the most of it. Hit the gym, go for a run or do something physical!

May 10-12 – Korekore te whiawhia, Korekore te rawea and Korekore piri ki ngā tangaroa: Low energy. A good time in lockdown to pause, stop and reflect, or do more cooking and baking.

May 13-15 – Tangaroa a mua, Tangaroa a roto and Tangaroa kiokio: Fruitful, productive energy, good time for everything.

May 18-21 – Omauri, Mutuwhenua, Whiro and Tirea: Reflective and low-energy phase. Be cautious. Check in with family and friends.

May 25-28 – Tamatea a ngana, Tamatea a hotu, Tamatea a io and Tamatea kai ariki: Moderate energy. Unpredictable, changing weather and energy. Be cautious and prepared for the unexpected. Following this phase we move straight into a give-back day with Huna.

May 9, 16, 23 and 29 – Oike, Otane, Uenuku and Huna: Utunga (reciprocity/give-back days). These are special days to give back to others and to the environment. Give-back days vary in different regions e.g. Tirea is used instead of Uenuku in other regions. In Auckland we use the mentioned days, highlighted below in pink.

The different energy phases on the maramataka dial.

Click here to learn how to use the maramataka dial and to download your own.

Tohu in May

Tohu o te rangi (signs in the sky)

A key tohu most people know is Matariki and the seven sister stars (although Tūhoe matauranga suggests there are nine), which disappears in April/May and reappears again in June/July, signalling the new year. For other iwi, Pūanga or Pūaka, the Rigel star in Orion (seventh-brightest star in the night sky) is key. Different iwi use different stars depending on location and whether they are on the east or west coasts. In South Auckland we prepare for the rising of Pūanga. We can view Pūanga from the south-east side near Maraetai.

Tohu o te whenua (signs on land)

At the start of autumn, karamu (Coprosma robusta) starts to fruit, and tawa and karaka berries appear. These were collected and preserved by our tūpuna for their high protein and carbohydrate content and stored for the winter months.

Tohu o te moana (signs in the water)

In the far north, the pakirikiri (blue cod) and maomao, also known as blue maomao (Scorpis violaceus) start migrating and spawning.



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