Whakaahu Kerekere and Whakaahu Rangi (Castor and Pollux) are visible in the sky during Aponga. Image: Rogelio Bernal Andreo

Learning to live by the maramataka: Aponga

Chaotic weather and energy in August means it’s a good time to take care of ourselves and our loved ones (and maybe plant some seeds).

Kia ora koutou, ngā mihi o te wā o Aponga.

Aponga is a month of planting or preparing the garden to lay seedlings in the next moon cycle. It is also a time to take extra care and check in with family. Aponga is often a season of unpredictable weather and energies across Aotearoa, with colder winds, higher rainfall and darker nights. Be cautious and spend time with your loved ones. There are specific tohu (signs) in the environment that warn and help prepare us for what’s to come.

The maramataka plays a significant role in helping improve hauora and wellbeing: taha wairua (spiritual), hinegraro (mental and emotional), whānau (social) and tinana (physical). The purpose of these columns is to help more whānau tune into the different energies in the maramataka and apply them to basic daily activities.

The maramataka encourages us to observe our environment and tune our energy into specific days every month. We become more familiar with practises that align with high, low, moderate and unpredictable energies and days. Basic practices include mindfulness, gardening, training, meetings, karakia, noho puku (fasting), giving back, being near the water etc.

Key dates

4 – 7 August – Tamatea a ngana, Tamatea a hotu, Tamatea a io and Tamatea kai ariki: This is a very unpredictable time. We are warned to take extra caution on these days, especially in August.

14 – 16 August – Oturu, Rakaunui and Rakau ma tohi: These are the highest energy days of the month and fall on and around the full moon. These days are great for high activity, events, sports, planting and most things that require energy. Get your to-do list done!

19 – 21 August – Korekore te whiawhia, Korekore te rawea and Korekore piri ngā tangaroa: These are low energy days and similar to Whiro. It’s a time best suited for organising the work/personal calendar, reflecting and future planning. Kaumātua also tell us Korekore days are for releasing worries and tension. This is done as a pure (spiritual ceremony) or doing a karakia on the outgoing tide; and when the moon comes around again and energy returns, we can rebuild our strength and start afresh.

22, 23 and 24 August – Tangaroa a mua, Tangaroa a roto and Tangaroa kiokio: These days are great for fishing or activities in or near the water. It’s also a good time for planting. The energy is fruitful and more positive and you are likely to get positive outcomes in your work/social settings.

29 August – Whiro: This is the lowest energy day of the month and the darkest night. Best time to reflect, rest and plan. Take it easy and take care of loved ones. I especially try to ring whānau and do a check in on these low energy days.

Tohu in Aponga

Tohu o te rangi (signs in the sky)

In the eastern sky Matariki and the seven sisters remain and a new star Te Kakau (Regulus) rises. You can also see the stars Whakaahu Kerekere and Whakaahu Rangi (Castor and Pollux).

Tohu o te whenua (signs on land)

We await the arrival of the Pipiwharauroa (shining cuckoo). When you hear it call, you know spring is here. Listen for the sound here.

Tohu o te moana (signs in the water)

Last month we talked about the importance of tides. The Tangāroa and Tamatea tides mirror each other on opposite sides of the month/30 day moon cycle and this is the same for the Rakaunui and Whiro tides. White bait season is also about to start around 15 August! Whitebait starts to run up the rivers and waterways.

Aligning ourselves with the maramataka can be as basic as adding the dates to our calendars or learning to set the dial.  Check out the maramataka Cheat Sheet and download your own maramataka dial here. Hei a te marama!

Please note: This is intended as a guide to help you learn 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.

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