Matariki | Kids’ Fun
Te Hangareka ā-Tamariki
Mānawatia a Matariki! Mid-winter brings the celebration of Te Mātahi o te Tau, or the Māori New Year, with the rising of the Matariki star cluster. Matariki is a time to reflect on the past, celebrate the present, and look forward to the future.
To help you and your whānau celebrate, why not try some of our Matariki-themed activities and have fun learning about this special time of year.
MATARIKI AND SOUTHERN LIGHTS PAINTING
This hands-on painting method is heaps of fun and makes a really pretty picture of the night sky in winter. The Southern Lights (aurora australis) is a dazzling display of coloured light visible at night under certain special conditions.
It’s best seen during the winter months, so if you’re out star-spotting for Matariki, keep an eye out for this amazing light show as well.
What you’ll need:
Black A4 paper
Chalk pastels in different shades of blues, greens, a yellow and a red
An old toothbrush
An extra piece of plain A4 paper or card
1. With your spare piece of paper, make a horizontal rip across the page in the shape of a mountain range
2. Place the ripped piece of paper over the bottom part of your black paper sheet to create the mountain horizon
3. Dab a bit of white paint onto the toothbrush, and then flick gently over the black paper to create the starry night background
4. Take the ripped paper away while the stars dry, and make some different coloured sections along the top edge with your chalk pastels
5. Make sure the paint has already dried on the black paper before placing the chalked paper back down where it was. Using your finger, smudge the chalk dust colours upwards into the sky, from the plain paper onto the black piece
6. Using a small paint brush or toothpick, pick up some white paint onto the end to start creating your Matariki constellation. Make a small dot for each of the stars in the shape of the constellation
7. Wait for your painting to fully dry, then hang it up for everyone to admire
Tip: to help your pastels last longer on the paper, you can use a fixative spray from any craft shop (or hairspray can also do the trick!)
WEAVE A HARAKEKE WHETŪ (FLAX STAR)
Weaving is a great tradition to try at Matariki, and what better than a star made from harakeke? You can also use ribbon if you don’t have any flax nearby. We’ve included a great video resource to help you make your flax stars – scan the QR code below to watch. Make a few and you’ll have enough for a whole Matariki cluster – just remember it’s traditional to give away the first star you make!
What you’ll need:
Four strips of harakeke – ask a pakeke (grown up) to help you harvest them
Watch this step-by-step video to make your harakeke star
Te Papa Matariki
Looking for even more awesome activities to keep the whānau busy? Download the Te Papa Matariki activity book and learn how to play Mū Tōrere, create your own pepeha, complete a Matariki crossword, and other fun and games.