Listen out for the Pīpīwharauroa (Shining cuckoo) this month, a tohu for Mahuru. Image: Handcoloured copperplate drawn and engraved by John Latham. Photo by Florilegius/Getty Images.

Learning to live by the maramataka: Mahuru

The second instalment of our regular maramataka column focuses on Mahuru (September). Ayla Hoeta shares insights into the tohu of the whenua, rangi and moana, as well as key dates to add into your calendar for this month. 

To recap, last month we introduced a maramataka dial which can be aligned to the moon phases to help you identify which days in the month are good for key activities, based on the moon cycle and tohu in the environment. The tohu are from the land, water and sky, and they are all connected. To begin each month/phase, you set your calendar or dial to Rakaunui, a day that brings a high amount of energy and is perfect for big events and action. On the west coast Rakaunui is set on your dial the night before the full moon; on the east coast Rakaunui is set on your dial the night of the full moon. My columns align with the west coast.

This month is Mahuru, the name commonly used for September. The ancient Māori name for this period is ‘Te ahunga o uruao’, which means ‘the new generation of whitebait’.

Whitebait is an indicator we identify in water (ngā tohu o te moana) and one you may be familiar with. When the whitebait run, we know the season is changing and new tohu o te whenua and tohu o te rangi will present around the same time.

Mahuru is referred to as a time of regrowth, rebirth and renewal. It was a busy time for our elders, with animals being born and new gardens and food being planted. It is also a time that indicates the coming of matiti kura, the first phase of summer. Woohoo!

Tohu in Mahuru

Tohu o te rangi: In Mahuru a new star, Te kakau (Regulus), rises. You can also see the stars Whakaahu Kerekere and Whakaahu Rangi (Castor and Pollux) in the eastern sky.

Tohu o te moana: As mentioned earlier, this is the whitebait season so you will see whitebait in our waterways during this period.

Tohu o te whenua: There are several tohu on land you may notice. It is still a great time to plant kai. From August to November you can start your own veggie garden. A lovely tohu is the pīpīwharauroa bird (shining cuckoo), you can hear them singing in the trees. Lastly, the ripening of red berries begin this month.

Key maramataka dates 

31 August, 1 and 2 September – Tangaroa a mua, Tangaroa a roto and Tangaroa kiokio: These are known as great fishing and planting days, but I like to call them fruitful days. These days are fruitful because there are more fish to be caught, the kai flourishes when planted on these days and you are more likely to get positive outcomes when working with other people. This is the time to go for the opportunity you’ve been thinking about! It’s a fruitful day and you have a greater chance of a positive outcome, so go for it!

4, 5 and 6 September – Orongonui, Omauri and Mutuwhenua: This is a great time to plant all food; watery crops, root crops and salad crops etc.

7 September – Whiro: This is the lowest energy day of the month. Best time to reflect, rest and plan.

12, 13 and 14 September – Tamatea a ngana, Tamatea a hotu and Tamatea a io: These are fishing days but kaumatua say the winds change quickly so, take extra caution when out on the water. Not low or high, but moderate energy.

23, 24 and 25 September – Oturu, Rakaunui and Rakau ma tohi: These are the highest energy days of the month and fall around the full moon. Energetic days are great for high activity, action, events, sports, planting and most things that require a lot of energy. This is when you will things done!

28, 29 and 30 September – Korekore te whiawhia, Korekore te rawea and Korekore piri nga tangaroa: These are low energy days and similar to whiro. They are not suitable for high activity but more for organising your calendar, reflecting and planning out the rest of your week, month and future goals. Give it a try, I’ve done it myself and felt like a planning guru! Our elders tell us these days are also special for releasing worries or tension. We can go to the moana on the outgoing tide and release any tension for the tide to take away. When the moon comes around again and energy builds and returns, we can rebuild our own strength and start afresh again.

There you have it whānau, aligning ourselves with the maramataka can be helpful at home, at work and in understanding our environment, ourselves and others. If you have any pātai, you can ask me on Instagram (@aylahoeta). Hei a te marama!

*Want to know more? Check out the maramataka Cheat Sheet and download your own maramataka dial here.

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