Learn what Matariki means to our whānau


‘Mānawatia a Matariki – Celebrate Matariki’ – a special time here in Aotearoa New Zealand as we learn more about the Matariki star cluster, reflect on the past and celebrate, feast and be with whānau and friends for what’s to come – wherever they are across the globe. 

Meet Cassandra Thompson, Project Support Services Team Lead

I found out in 2005 that I was Māori on my dad’s side and since then I’ve been on a journey to find out where we belong and learning more about my ancestors.

Matariki for me is a time to stop and reflect on those we have lost (my aunty passed in January this year) and to come together - to spend time with one another and celebrate. 
This year I’ll be up north with whānau and hope to visit my marae as it’s been a couple of years since I’ve visited due to distance and covid. 

The more I learn about Matariki, the more I am looking to set up some traditions for myself. 

Meet Carol Hauraki, L4 Process Assistant

I love my whānau and feel fulfilled spending time amongst our Kaumatua supporting our Marae and various Kaupapa. 

I recently participated in the Taikura 2023 Kapa Haka at Te Papa alongside our Kaumatua of Ngati Haua.

Matariki to me means taking the time pause and be thankful. 

I’ll be celebrating Matariki with my whānau by going to Nga Paki o Matariki at Claudelands to watch my mokopuna perform Kapa Haka.

Matariki to me means taking the time pause and be thankful.

Meet Carol Hauraki, L4 Process Assistant

Meet Daniel Hovell, Maintenance Analyst

I was born in Kaitaia and raised in the Far North, then studied Chemical Engineering at Auckland University. I moved to Taranaki in 2000 and live in Hawera with my partner, my son (8) and daughter (5), plus her three teenage sons and I also have a son (22) in Wellington. I’ve worked at Fonterra Kapuni for 23 years. 

As an astronomer, Matariki is the Māori name for the famous star cluster known as Pleiades or the Seven Sisters, which represents the heart of Taurus the Bull. Living in Taranaki, I also observe Puanga, the Māori name for a bright star called Rigel, which represents the foot of Orion, the Hunter. The Matariki/Puanga period for me represents the Māori New Year, a time to remember loved ones who have passed away, to celebrate the present with family and friends and to start planning and preparing for the future.

On the Matariki Public Holiday this year, my partner, kids, and I will attend Hawera Observatory's pre-dawn Puanga event from 6-8am. I’ll then fly to Christchurch with my partner for my Aunty's 60th Birthday celebrations.

I observe the stars throughout the year, including Matariki and Puanga and note when they are no longer visible in the west after sunset, then watch for their heliacal (before the Sun) rising in the eastern pre-dawn sky. I also follow the phases of the Moon and look for the faint one-day old crescent moon to start my Māori New Year.

Meet Jo-An Kelsen, Team Leader

Matariki to me means welcoming in the new year, and all it's fruits, promises, and gifts.

We celebrate Puanga in Taranaki as settle above our mounga, who bids farewell to the past year and to those who have passed on. I’ll be celebrating the day with my whānau.

Every Matariki my whānau and I ensure we spend time together to keep this going and never lose it.

Matariki to me means welcoming in the new year, and all it's fruits, promises, and gifts.

Jo-An Kelsen, Team Leader, Fonterra

Meet Jeff Kairangatira Lind, Distribution Centre Operations Manager

I’m a DC Operations Manager in Te Moana-Toi (Bay of Plenty) looking after our Tauranga, Edgecumbe and Tirau DCs. I have 2 tamariki. Boh (10) and Billie (5). I coach my sons Rugby Team for Te Puna and my daughter Billie is into Hip Hop dancing.  

I’m currently doing Level 5 Te Rōnakitanga at TWoA and bringing my tamariki with me on my Reo journey. My wife Lilah owns and runs a furniture business in Mt Maunganui. I’ve been working for Fonterra for 14 Years and lived in Bali for a year in 2017. 

Matariki is a relatively new celebration for me but I have embraced it over the last year. It’s a time of whakawhanaungatanga, remembering our loved ones who have passed and celebrating the new year.

This year, I plan to walk up Mauao with my whānau and friends and listen to the kōrero of Jack Thatcher again and then have a Kai with whānau and friends. 

Every year during Matariki, I ensure the kai has representation from Waitī, Waitā, Tupuanuku and Tupuarangi. I ensure my tamariki understand the importance of Matariki and how our people use the lunar calendar.

Matariki is a relatively new celebration for me but I have embraced it over the last year. It’s a time of whakawhanaungatanga, remembering our mates and celebrating the new year.

Jeff Kairangatira Lind, Distribution Centre Operations Manager, Fonterra

Meet Verity Hikairo, Practice Leader 

Ko Takitimu te waka, Ko Tauranga te moana, Ko Mauao te Maunga, Ko Wairoa te Awa, Ko Ngati Ranginui te iwi Ko Verity ahau. I’m Verity and I am acting GM and Practice Leader for the Health & rehabilitation team. I am also a mum to four sons and reside in Hamilton.

Matariki to me is about Hauora or Health. It’s about Te taha whānau and connecting with the ones who mean the most to you. It’s about te taha tinana, getting active, building new healthy habits. Te taha hinengaro, showing up for each other, communicating and being supportive. Te Taha wairua, being true to yourself and your beliefs and it’s about Whenua, belonging, connecting and recognising where you come from and paying respect to that. 

I’ll be spending Matariki with my sons, my parents and siblings and their whānau, playing backyard shennanigans, cricket, touch, whatever and eating/sharing good kai.

Last year we started the tradition of getting together with the whole whanau, we lit a bonfire (actually, a brazier lol) and we all went around the fire and expressed what we were most thankful for and what are goals were for te tau hou (new Year). This year will be similar.