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Old 06-21-2012, 02:17 PM   #1
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Happy Matariki to our Maori Friends

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Matariki
.
In the Māori language Matariki is both the name of the Pleiades star cluster and also of the season of its first rising[1] in late May or early June taken as the beginning of the new year.[2] Similar words occur in most Polynesian languages, deriving from Proto-Polynesian *mataliki, meaning minute, small, and the use of the term for the Pleiades constellation is also ancient and has been reconstructed to Eastern Oceanic.
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Māori traditions

The constellation was important for navigation and timing the seasons. The first rising of the Pleiades and of Rigel (Puanga in Māori) occurs just prior to sunrise in late May or early June. The actual time for the celebration of Matariki varies, some iwi (tribe or clan) celebrate it immediately, others wait until the rising of the next full moon, or the dawn of the next new moon and others use the rising of Puanga/Rigel in a similar way.[5][6]

In traditional times, Matariki was a season to celebrate and to prepare the ground for the coming year. Offerings of the produce of the land were made to the gods, including Rongo, god of cultivated food. This time of the year was also a good time to instruct young people in the lore of the land and the forest. In addition, certain birds and fish were especially easy to harvest at this time.

The name Matariki is used also for the central star in the cluster, with the surrounding stars named Tupu-a-nuku, Tupu-a-rangi, Waiti, Waita, Waipuna-a-rangi and Ururangi.[7]


Recent revival

Since The Māori Language Commission began a move in 2001 to "reclaim Matariki, or Aotearoa Pacific New Year, as an important focus for Māori language regeneration" it has increasingly become common practice for various private and public institutions to celebrate Matariki[8][9] in a range of ways[10] and over the period of a week or month anywhere from early June to late August
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Old 06-22-2012, 11:25 AM   #2
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In honor of the Maori NZ accent:

Happy Matawiki!
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