Why Feast Matariki?


Feast Matariki is a national food celebration, a time to celebrate all the food of Aotearoa.

It is not necessary to reference Māori ingredients or methods to have an event under the Feast Matariki umbrella, but it’s important to us as an organisation that our original food culture and story is better known by all kiwis.

As such we see this as an important platform to carry a discussion about what makes us unique in the world of food. We imagine it will evolve over the years, and the vision is that it becomes our time to give thanks for this amazing country and all it can provide.

Matariki - Matariki is also known as the Pleiades constellation of stars. It rises in the pre-dawn sky in June or July each year. This time in the Māori lunar calendar (Maramataka) is called Pipiri which means ‘to draw close’.

It was a traditional time to give thanks for the food that had been harvested in the preceding season. There was a great deal of mana associated with being able to offer guests what had been harvested and collected, the word ‘manaakitanga’ (hospitality) is related to this.

Matariki was a time for renewal, the end of one growing year and the promise of a new one ahead. There are nine stars in the Matariki constellation, four of which are directly related to food;

Tupuānuku – this star is connected to food grown in the ground

Tupuārangi – associated with food which comes from the sky & other elevated food products, such as fruit and berries from the trees.

Waitī – this star is connected to fresh water & all of the creatures that live within rivers, streams and lakes.

Waitā – this star represents the food gathered from the sea.

While the Matariki constellation has 9 stars, on our logo you'll notice we've added a tenth & given it its own name: Puanga.

This is because iwi, including some in the far north, those in Taranaki, Whanganui, & Ngāi Tahu in the South Island celebrate this star at this time of year.

Again food plays an important role in Puanga celebrations, and the most common whakataukī (proverb) is 'Puanga kai rau' or 'The abundant harvest of Punaga'.

Ko Puanga te pae ārahi i ngā tohu o te tau hou i te pae ururangi.

We are by no means experts on Matariki and food, so we would highly recommend talking to your local hapū and iwi to understand their traditions, and also obtaining a copy of Matariki ; The Star of the Year by Rangi Matamua https://www.huia.co.nz/huia-bo...

Words by eatnewzealand