Matariki Teaching Ideas

Matariki Teaching Ideas

Matariki is such a great time of the year. Some people have suggested that it be a national holiday. There has been an upsurge in interest in Matariki especially in the last 10 years. Just looking at the MOE resources that we see in the Ready to Read and School Journals shows us the interest in this part of New Zealand life.

I have included a quick run down of the highlights of Matariki plus some links to free and paid resources that may be of use for your class or community group such as Scouts or Guides.


  • Matariki is celebrated by different iwi at different times.

  • Matariki signifies the beginning of the new year. This may be a good discussion point with children about the concept of a year and calendars. Children may also be interested in the Chinese year or the Islamic year.

  • Matariki is a constellation. One of its other names is Pleiades. While many people say Matariki is a constellation of 7 stars others say it is a constellation of 9 or more stars. 

  • Matariki happened just after the harvest.

  • One proverb said If the stars shone brightly it would be a good year would be warm and good for growing crops.

  • Matariki was a time to remember people who had died in the previous year. Other ways of celebrating Matariki included feasting, flying kites (kites reached to the heavens and so honoured and remembered people who had died) and singing.


  • Constellations and their use throughout time. This could be linked to Pasifika culture too!

  • Calendars of different cultures and how they came to be.

  • Celebrations and their similarities and differences. Children could compare Matariki to another celebration inside or outside of NZ

  • Matariki could be a good time to learn more about your local Iwi and its history. As part of that study you could find out about Matariki celebrations.

  • Change over time, for example how Matariki celebrations have changed since colonialisation.

  • Feasting or Kai. At my last school we had a school wide shared lunch each Matariki. You could do something similar or may like to look at the importance of feasting across cultures. In 2017 Matariki is near the end of Ramadan, the Islamic Holy Month, this could be an interesting comparison.




Sign up for my free Matariki Collaborative poster

Stars are a key feature of Matariki. You may find activities related to the stars a good starting point.

Check out this site for generic star activities for juniors

There are a few Matariki books in the Ready to Read series and in the School Journals. Use Journal Surf to have a look for articles. 'Connected' also has ideas too.

Te Papa has a good resource which is linked to the NZC. There are some print and go activities however most of the activities require some teacher preparation.

Green Grubs has a great Matariki book blog post with free printables linked to Matariki books here 

Top Teaching Tasks has a quick Matariki reading work stuff here.

Pinterest has a great selection of ideas. I have a collection of easy to integrate ideas on Pinterest here.


Green Grubs has an awesome set of Matariki clip art which you can adapt and use for displays or art work.

If you are looking for Print and Go downloadable activities that can be adapted for any age level check out

my matariki resources here - you can pay in NZD

or you can pay from Teachers Pay Teachers here


  • Reading and comprehension activities

  • Information about constellations and constellation activities

  • Art activities

  • Activities for children to reflect on looking after the earth and their own goals

  • Comparing Matariki to another holiday

  • Making a Matariki celebration and planning a special meal

  • Vocab activities


Here are some of my Matariki resources, click for a closer look!

Back to blog

Leave a comment

Please note, comments need to be approved before they are published.