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Image: Dick Veitch, Department of Conservation
Image: Dick Veitch, Department of Conservation

ĀteaDecember 3, 2018

Learning to live by the Maramataka: Hakihea

Image: Dick Veitch, Department of Conservation
Image: Dick Veitch, Department of Conservation

We are entering the fourth phase of summer and the teoteo are calling out to let you know their chicks have hatched. Read on to find out what else Hakihea (December) holds.

Welcome to the maramataka for Hakihea (December). Heading into the beautiful sunny season you can expect to see new tohu depending on whether you’re near a coast, city or ngahere. According to the maramataka we are moving from Matiti Muramura (third summer phase) to Matiti kaiwai (fourth phase). Matiti Kaiwai is known as the middle of summer and a key tohu (signs from the natural world) for this phase is when Papatūānuku opens up showing cracks in the ground. Our tūpuna in the north call this ‘Te waru i kataina e Rehua’ – the eighth month of the year, when the ground laughs as a result of the Rehua (Antares) star. When Rehua rises in the sky we know summer is here and the ground dries up and thirsts for water. This period is a great time to observe the environment and notice the different summer plants, trees, flowers, stars and tides. Listen for the teoteo (female tui) – its call will dominate the bush for the next few weeks. This is a tohu that its piipii (chicks) have hatched!

Tohu in Hakihea

Tohu o te rangi (signs in the sky): As mentioned above the star that will be visible is Rehua, the Antares star. Rehua rises on the east and is due closer to the period of early January. If you would like a handy app that tracks the stars look up Stellarium. In Hawaii they call this same star ‘Lehua’ and the flower we call pōhutukawa, Hawaiians call Lehua as they make the same connection as us between the star and the pōhutukawa flower. When the Lehua star rises the pōhutukawa/lehua flower blooms. This is knowledge brought down by our tūpuna on the waka over a thousand years ago. Today we use this story to help us understand the maramataka.

Tohu o te whenua (signs on land): There are three tohu this month, Pohutukawa, northern rātā and plums. Both Pohutukawa and the northern rātā flower at the same time as mentioned in last month’s article and the early Christmas plums start to ripen. When the plums and summer fruits like peach and nectarine ripen we look forward to the coming preserving period.

Tohu o te moana (signs in the water): Kahawai fish start to gather at the river mouths in late December and run in January. Anyone who lives near the river may be well aware of common fish activity and patterns. If you know how to set your maramataka dial and the maramataka day for when fish run you will have an exact date.

It is truly amazing how specific the maramataka can be and how in tune our tūpuna lived. They could predict exact weather changes, animal growth, food production and more, and this is how they survived. There are also specific days in the maramataka that help improve physical, mental and emotional wellbeing e.g. days to unload or release any worries you may have. This is done on a Whiro or low energy days on the half tide out. You can swim at your closest moana and when you leave the water don’t look back. As the tide goes it will take the worries you have left. There are many health benefits to explore in the maramataka.  

Click to save and print the maramataka dial. If you live on the west coast, set your dial to Rakaunui the day before the full moon. If you live on the east coast, set you dial to Rakaunui the day of the full moon. Reset your dial each new moon cycle.Supplied by Ayla Hoeta and Rereata Makiha.

Key maramataka dates (West Coast)

29, 30 and 1 December – Tangaroa a mua, Tangaroa a roto and Tangaroa kiokio: Great fishing and planting. People are more positive and energetic. You are more likely to gain positive outcomes in decision making processes.

3, 4 and 5 December – Orongonui, Omauri and Mutuwhenua: This time is suitable to plant many types of food; watery crops, root crops and salads.

6 December – Whiro: This is the lowest energy day of the month and the darkest night when the moon is not visible. This is a time to rest and do quieter activities such as planning and reflecting. On low energy days we do not need as much food and should be fasting and cleansing the body.

11, 12, 13 and 14 December – Tamatea a ngana, Tamatea a hotu, Tamatea a io and Tamatea kai ariki: The winds can be very unpredictable especially near the water. The energy level is moderate so take it easy, not high activity just moderate.

21, 22 and 23 December – Oturu, Rakaunui and Rakau ma tohi: We can enjoy the awesome high energy days leading into Christmas. Get all your preparation done just before Christmas day so that on the day you can relax with whānau. The highest energy days of the month are around the full moon which is opposite to Whiro. These days are great and very productive, which makes perfect timing just leading into the Christmas celebrations.

25 December – Oike: Christmas day is Oike (korekore te whiawhia on the east coast), which is a low energy day. This is great to relax and spend quality time with whānau and friends.

26, 27 and 28 December – Korekore te whiawhia, Korekore te rawea and Korekore piri ki ngā tangaroa: These are low energy days like Whiro and Oike. These days start to build energy as they go which is perfect as we get closer to New Year’s Day.  These days are great for practising mindfulness and relaxing – taking it easy. Heading into New Year’s Eve and New Year’s day the energy levels increase.

New Year’s Eve 31 December – In the maramataka we only use 30 days not 31 and this New Year’s Eve day falls on Tangaroa a roto in the maramataka. This is a great, high energetic and positive day.

New Year’s Day 1, 2 and 3 January – Tangaroa kiokio, Otane and Orongonui: New Year’s Day to the 3rd of January will be high energy days, talk about great timing! They are also ‘give back’ days – this doesn’t have to be gifts, it could be a helping hand or a nice gesture. Give back because it will return tenfold.

Ngā mihi o te tau hou. I wish you all a wonderful Christmas and New Year and a safe summer holiday.


Click here to learn more about maramataka and the days of the lunar calendar month.

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