Matariki Hunga Nui
Matariki Hunga Nui means the many people of Matariki. It speaks to how Matariki calls people to gather together to remember and honour those we have lost since the last rising of Matariki.
The reappearance of Matariki in the morning sky during mid-winter coincided with a traditional ceremony called ‘whāngai i te hautapu.’ During this ceremony food was cooked and offered to the different whetū of Matariki while karakia (incantations) were conducted.
The first part of this ceremony was dedicated to the dead and honouring those who had passed since the last rising of Matariki. The names of the dead were called out during the ceremony and people would weep for their loved ones. Matariki is said to carry the dead across the night sky throughout the year, and when the names of deceased are called out, Māori believe the spirits of the dead become stars in the sky.