Pou Rama, designed by Storybox in collaboration with Desna Whaanga-Schollum. Seen at LUX, Festival of Light, Wellington, NZ
… is the Māori name for the cluster of stars also known as the Pleiades. It rises in mid-winter – late May or early June. For many Māori, it heralds the start of a new year.
Matariki literally means the ‘eyes of god’ (mata ariki) or ‘little eyes’ (mata riki). According to myth, when Ranginui, the sky father, and Papatūānuku, the earth mother, were separated by their children, the god of the winds, Tāwhirimātea, became so angry that he tore out his eyes and threw them into the heavens.
Traditionally, Matariki was a time to remember those who had died in the last year. But it was also a happy event – crops had been harvested and seafood and birds had been collected. With plenty of food in the storehouses, Matariki was a time for singing, dancing and feasting.
The celebration of Matariki languished for much of the twentieth century, as with many elements of Maori culture. Recently however, New Zealanders have begun to embrace Matariki again, and now events of celebration take place all around the country.
Many –perhaps most –honour the cultural significance of Matariki. Others, like the collection of light installations at Stellar, are more tenuous, but enjoyable nonetheless.
This week is Challengers’ Choice at Sally D’s Mobile Photography Challenge and I guess I’m covering a few bases with a collection that includes both night and street photography, and a bit of abstraction.