Guest blog - Jase Te Patu
Matariki is a very special time of the year for our Māori people. It’s a time to reflect on the learnings from the past and plan and celebrate the potential of the future. It is our Māori New Year!
The legend of the 7 stars of Matariki speaks of god Tāwhirimātea being so distraught at the separation of his parents Papatūānuku and Ranginui, that he gauged out his eyes and threw them into the Milky Way. They became the star cluster of Matariki – ‘mata’ meaning eyes and ‘ariki’ translating to ‘god’. The 7 stars now look down upon mother earth as ‘kaitiaki’ or protectors; each one with a specific role.
Every year in the middle of our southern hemisphere winter, the 7 stars; Matariki the mother; daughters Tupu-ā-nuku; Tupu-ā-rangi; Waipunarangi; Waitī and Waitā; and the youngest child Ururangi, descend to earth to assist Papatūānuku for the year ahead. With all of their unique gifts, the Matariki cluster take the learnings from earth mother herself back to the sky, so that as the seasons change, they can guard and protect her.
Matariki is also a beautiful time to reconnect with family. To mend ‘raruraru’ or issues within the whanau unit and to move forward stronger and connected. Our family has just had shared kai and discussed learnings from the past year. There was a cleaning of the slate, so that no issues are carried over into this new year. It’s like starting over clear and intentional!
It’s very similar to our yoga practice on the mat I feel. As an owner of the yoga studio Power Living in Wellington, I see daily, how students can walk into the room feeling heavy and dull from the stresses of life. After just 60-90 minutes of breath and movement we get to wipe the slate clean, so that we re-enter the world somewhat clearer and intentional!
In traditional times, Matariki was also when vegetables were planted for yield in spring and summer. It was believed that the brighter the stars in the sky at Matariki time, particularly Tupu-ā-nuku (the eldest of Matariki’s daughters and protector of crop growth), the better the yield would be! This is also a time to foster our relationships with friends, so dinner parties provide great ways for us to hunker down and connect during these colder climes!
At our yoga studio right now, we encourage people more, to stay in their practice! It’s so easy at winter time, to cosy up by the fire and hibernate. Our studio is heated, so there’s the added bonus for coming to your mat, to connect to body, mind and soul. Spending time to nurture oneself, allows us to emerge brighter and lighter especially as the weather turns warmer.
What new things can YOU begin in these times of nurturing and cultivating? Will you get fitter? Start meditating? Re-assess your intentions for the rest of 2018? Or is it simply planting food for times to come. Whatever the ‘newness’ is, Matariki is the perfect time to begin!
My personal project is to start a business called M3 - cultivating Mindful tamariki throughout Aotearoa with Mindfulness, Movement and the telling of Māori Mythology.
May you all be blessed with clear intention moving forward into this new year. Hari Matariki ki a koutou - Happy Matariki to you!