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Karamu berries (Photo: Phil Bendle/T.E.R.R.A.I.N)
Karamu berries (Photo: Phil Bendle/T.E.R.R.A.I.N)

ĀteaMay 6, 2019

Learning to live by the maramataka: Haratua

Karamu berries (Photo: Phil Bendle/T.E.R.R.A.I.N)
Karamu berries (Photo: Phil Bendle/T.E.R.R.A.I.N)

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.

In recent years we have seen more activities around June to celebrate Matariki, the Māori New Year. Haratua has also become a time to prepare for this. Haratua traditionally was a time to preserve food, complete planting of crops or trees before the winter months and reflect and plan for the year ahead. If you’ve already set resolutions around January 1st you could use this time to track your goals.

Tohu in Haratua

Tohu o te rangi (signs in the sky)

Our ancestors welcomed each New Year by paying attention to the stars. Depending on location they kept an eye out for the tohu of Matariki’s constellation or Puanga/Puaka, the Rigel star in Orion (seventh brightest star in the night sky) (Jim Williams, 2013). In south Auckland we prepare for the rising of Puanga. We can view Puanga from the south east side near Maraetai. Kaumātua are able to predict quite an accurate date of when Puanga and other stars will appear based on observing tohu in the environment. Rangatira Matua Rereata Makiha suggests June 6th as the date to view Puanga.

Tohu o te whenua (signs on land)

As the start of autumn you can witness the tohu of karamu (Coprosma robusta), a native plant which starts to fruit. Tawa and karaka berries were also collected and preserved due to their high protein content. These berries were particularly important to store for winter months.  

Tohu o te moana (signs at sea)

In some areas, mainly the far north, the pakirikiri (blue cod) and maomao, also known as blue maomao (Scorpis violaceus), start their migrations and spawning.

Key maramataka dates (Auckland, Manukau Harbour, West Coast)

1, 2 and 3 May: The lowest energy – Mutuwhenua, Whiro and Tirea have just passed. This can be a dark or sad time for some, take it easy, be cautious and thoughtful. Check in with family and friends.

7, 8, 9 and 10 May: Unpredictable/changing weather and energy – Tamatea a ngana, Tamatea a hotu, Tamatea a io and Tamatea kai ariki. Be cautious and prepared for unpredictable weather and behaviour from others.

17, 18 and 19 May: Super high energy – Oturu, Rakaunui and Rakau ma tohi. Go for it! Everything you want to tick off on the to-do list, now’s the time! Make the most of this high energy, hit the gym, go for a run or do something physical.

22, 23 and 24 May: Low energy – Korekore te whiawhia, Korekore te rawea and Korekore piri ki ngā tangaro. Relax, chill out. Also a time for noho puku, which means to rest the puku (stomach) of food or fast.

25, 26 and 27 May: Fruitful and productive energy – Tangaroa a mua, Tangaroa a roto and Tangaroa kiokio. Try to visit the beach or any type of waterway if you can. This is very good for hauora tinana and wairua (body and spirit).

11, 21 and 28 May: Reciprocity days – Huna, Oike and Otane. These are special days to give back to others, to the environment or to anything. The give back days vary from iwi to iwi but we use these days in Auckland.

Don’t forget to add the key dates to your calendar. Thanks for tuning in and feel free to let me know if you have questions (aylahoeta on Instagram or I will do my best to help and also check with the oracle Matua Rereata, who guides all learning around the maramataka.

Hei a te marama!

Learn more about the days of the maramataka and download your own maramataka dial here.

Please note: This is intended as a guide to help you learn to about key dates in the maramataka and read the tohu (signs). Tohu will change from area to area and therefore while the dates above might be accurate for Auckland Manukau Harbour area, dates may vary slightly for those in other rohe.

Keep going!