Read this month: Top Ten Matariki books

Let the galaxy unfold

Last Updated : 14 Mar 2019

Stuck for reading inspiration? Check out our monthly list of top picks from Auckland Libraries’ collections, hand-selected by our own librarians.

To celebrate Matariki here are our top ten book titles at Auckland Libraries to learn about the origins of the celebration and the constellation itself.

  1. Matariki: te whetū tapu o te tau

In midwinter, Matariki rises in the predawn sky, and is celebrated with a vast number of events. This book explores what Matariki was in a traditional sense so it can be understood and celebrated in our modern society.

Written in te reo Māori.

  1. Matariki: the star of the year

The Matariki tradition has been re-established, and its regeneration coincides with a growing interest in Māori astronomy. This book provides information about the festival’s meaning and significance, associated tikanga (customs) and how to locate the Matariki constellation.

Written in English with some te reo Māori.

  1. Living by the moon: Te maramataka a Te Whānau-ā-Apanui

Discover the arrangement of the nights of the maramataka (the lunar months), according to the ancient knowledge of Te Whānau-ā-Apanui. Wiremu Tāwhai shares the elder’s understanding of what they saw in their times and regions. 

Written in te reo Māori and English.

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  1. Tiketike Ngahuru: Hakahaka Raumati

Explores the Māori seasonal and lunar calendars (maramataka). This educational and fascinating book provides a comparative of different names used by various iwi (tribes) while acknowledging the nuances of the night sky throughout Aotearoa and their tohu.

Written in te reo Māori.

  1. Puanga: Star of the Māori New Year

The rise of Matariki has come to signify the beginning of the Māori New Year in Aotearoa, however many Māori observe the rise of Puanga, the star Rigel in Orion. Learn more about Puanga the herald and its significance in Māori mythology across iwi.

Primarily in English, with some te reo Māori.

  1. Matariki: the Māori New Year

An introduction to the star group Matariki – known in other cultures as Pleiades and the Seven Sisters. This book includes suggestions on how to whakanui (celebrate) the Māori New Year and a guide to finding the Matariki constellation in the night sky.

Written in English with some te reo Māori.

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  1. Work of the gods

Much of the star lore of the Māori has, through the wisdom of the elders, been preserved in its entirety. Work of the Gods includes a comprehensive analysis of Māori astronomical knowledge and how it was used to explain the beginning of the cosmos.

Written in English with some te reo Māori.

  1. The Maori division of time

An enduring tribute to the work of the late Elsdon Best (1856–1931), an author dedicated to the preservation of Māori knowledge. This book includes information on the Māori year, nights of the moon, names of seasons and terms employed to denote time.

Written in English with some Māori and other Polynesian languages.

  1. Heke-nuku-mai-nga-iwi Busby: not here by chance

This biography of Heke-nuku-mai-ngā-iwi Busby brings together the varied life experiences that have made Hec Busby the master waka builder, waka expert, celestial navigator and highly regarded kaumātua (elder) of Te Rarawa iwi.

In English.

  1. Night skies above New Zealand

From the Matariki celebrations of the Māori new year to Captain Cook's search for accurate longitude, people in Aotearoa have always looked to the skies. This book offers an excellent grounding for those wanting to know more about the southern stars.

Find out more information on these books (and more) and get them on loan for free!

If your chosen book is already on loan, you can check out more book lists

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