This year’s Matariki theme,‘Matariki Heri Kai,’ encourages sharing of food and knowledge


This year’s Matariki theme,‘Matariki Heri Kai,’ encourages sharing of food and knowledge
On Friday, June 28, Aotearoa marks the third public holiday recognising Matariki, the Māori New Year.

This year’s theme for the annual celebration is ‘Matariki Heri Kai – The feast of Matariki.’

Matariki Heri Kai comes from the Māori proverb ‘Matariki whetū heri kai’ meaning ‘Matariki, the bringer of food’.

This year’s theme acknowledges the importance of kai in the annual occasion, in growing, harvesting and sharing food from the land and the sea as well as the sharing of ideas and knowledge. Matariki is also known as the Pleiades star cluster and can be identified by the seven star ‘sisters’.

“Matariki Heri Kai is a proverb that speaks to the association between the appearance of Matariki and the bounty of the impending season,” explains Chief Advisor Mātauranga Matariki, Professor Rangi Mātāmua.

“The different stars in the Matariki cluster have an association to the various domains from where we source our food, in particular: gardens (Tupuānuku), forests (Tupuārangi), fresh water (Waitī) and ocean (Waitā). This connection encourages us to consider our role in protecting and caring for these ecosystems.

Professor Rangi Mātāmua.

Every year in the middle of winter, the Matariki star cluster rises, ushering in the Māori New Year. It represents a time to gather with whānau and friends, reflect on the past, honour the present and look forward to the future.

“Building on last year’s theme ‘Matariki kāinga hokia’ we encourage people to view Matariki as a time to journey home, spend time with whānau and friends, and enjoy feasting on fresh, locally sourced produce,” says Professor Rangi Mātāmua.


Tumu Whakarae Secretary for Culture and Heritage, Leauanae Laulu Mac Leauanae, says Matariki is all about bringing people together, and this year’s theme will help guide celebrations across the country.

“Research from last year proves that Matariki is inclusive and for everyone to take part in. More than two thirds (68%) of New Zealanders think that Matariki brings people and communities together.

“This year we are celebrating our food producers, our food suppliers, our wonderful culinary culture and the environments our food comes from.

“Whether the food is from our farms, our oceans or our gardens, I encourage you to experience Matariki on 28 June with kai. Reach out to your community, your whānau, and your friends to share kai, however you wish to come together,” says Leauanae Laulu Mac Leauanae.


Print Recipe


Let us keep you up to date with our weekly MiNDFOOD e-newsletters which include the weekly menu plan, health and news updates or tempt your taste buds with the MiNDFOOD Daily Recipe. 

Member Login