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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 7, 2021

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)

The gorgeous Haratua moon phase is the last moon cycle of the year, bringing us to the end of the Māori year. At this time, we prepare for Matariki, Puanga and Rehua, our New Year that begins when these stars rise in June and July.

The Māori new year is celebrated in different ways around the motu, but is marked wherever you are by the rising and setting of certain stars. This year the dates for our key whetū are:

Puanga/puaka (Rigel) rises around the Oturu moon in June: Due June 24.

Matariki (Pleiades) rises around the Tangaroa phase of July: Due July 2-4.

Rehua (Antares) sets in the eastern sky at the same time that Puanga rises in the west.

How do we know when these New Year whetū will rise and when they set? Matariki rises around the Tangaroa phase of Hongongoi and Puanga rises around the Oturu moon of Pipiri (Makiha, 2021). When Puanga rises Rehua sets. Rehua is our summer star and sets when the winter star rises. You can learn more about our new year here.

The cycle of Haratua is to preserve kai, finish planting crops and trees in preparation for winter. Also being the end of the year, Haratua is a time of reflection, setting and reviewing goals and aspirations. Many of us who are tuned in to the Gregorian calendar set resolutions in December so now could be a good time to revisit and track the progress of those resolutions. This is also a great opportunity to plan for the New Year and wānanga during the period that Matariki/Puanga rise.

The tohu for this maramataka include the appearance of karamu (Coprosma robusta), tawa and karaka berries, which were traditionally collected and preserved for protein in the colder months. Today we have mandarins, feijoas, limes, nashi and rhubarb, which are national autumn to winter kai. Other tohu in the moana are the spawning and migration of pākirikiri (blue cod).

Key maramataka dates (Auckland)

May 4-6: Tangaroa a mua, Tangaroa a roto and Tangaroa kiokio: The Tangaroa fruitful productive phase, great for training, social events, wānanga and resolving any raru or issues

May 10-12: Mutuwhenua, Whiro and Tirea: The Whiro low, reflective phase is also the new moon. This can be a wind-down period, a period of feeling tired physically or feeling really tuned in intellectually. Good for wānanga.

May 16-19: Tamatea a ngana, Tamatea a hotu, Tamatea a io and Tamatea kai ariki: Unpredictable Tamatea phase – be cautious and prepared for unpredictable feelings, emotions and weather.

May 26-28: Oturu, Rakaunui and Rakaumatohi: Rakaunui super high-energy phase. Yusss, go for it! Make the most of high energy, tick off the to-do list, hit the gym, go for a run or do something physical and/or social. A period where it might be hard to focus on one thing.

May 31-June 2: Korekore te whiwhia, Korekore te rawea and Korekore piri ngā tangaro: Korekore low, reflective energy phase. Rest, relax, have downtime, meditate. Also noho puku, a time to fast. This phase is similar to Whiro, kia tūpato.

Utunga (reciprocity days)

May 7, 14, 20 and 30: Huna, Oike, Ouenuku and Otane: These are special days to give back to the taiao (environment) and each other.

Ngā mihi for the mātauranga provided by Rangi Matamua and Matua Rereata Makiha.

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!