Matariki 12 Sculptured Pou

Initial Matariki celebrations in Manukau this year, synchronised to the maramataka (Maori Lunar calendar), were both emotive and exciting. Organised by The Southern Initiative, Healthy Families Manukau, Manurewa Papakura (HFMMP) and Panuku Placemaking South the symposium saw 12 sculptured pou created from Oamaru stone, telling stories of the stars, as well as a unique portable stone maramataka.



A week long rock carving symposium led by master carvers Darryl Thompson (Ngāti Kahungunu) and Filipe Tohi (Tonga) turned heads and ended with a matariki themed market in Manukau’s Civic Square.


Te Mata o Rehua Maramataka Cultural Market featured a number of stalls showcasing indigenous and other ethnic kai, crafts, creative ware and local enterprise.


Held on June 30, the Oike phase of the moon, it provided a health focused, whānau-friendly series of activities and was followed in the evening by a special exhibition with a light projection onto the council’s Manukau civic centre, TSI’s home base.


With the population set to increase from 6000 to 20,000 people, Manukau has been identified by Panuku as a ‘transform’ location meaning in order to reach its full potential its development requires a long-term, integrated, holistic and custodial approach.



“We’ve been using the maramataka to help guide us in some of our team’s work which in turn helps give intent to council’s high level statement regarding a thriving Māori identity being Auckland’s point of difference,” says TSI Social Intrapreneur David Rameka.


“A number of organisations across the community including marae, schools, kura Māori and whānau are using maramataka in their respective activities and it’s incredibly empowering and exciting.”


The pou created over the week will be used for a number of purposes including a teaching resource for the community and connecting with and discussing traditional Māori systems in accordance with the maramataka.



Since navigating the vast oceans of the Pacific, and long-term occupation of Aotearoa, Māori and other Pacific people have relied on lunar calendars to measure the cycles of the natural environment.


Kaiārahi Māori HFMMP’s Mason Ngawhika says in our relenting pursuit towards urbanisation, an awareness of the seasons starting with the celebration of matariki “may be the most immediate way of reconnecting to our natural world and realising we are all under the same roof, influenced by the moon and stars”.


It is hoped the market will be an annual event.