26 Jun 2020
"Tērā Puanga ka rewa i te pae
Nau mai, haramai ngā hua o te tau hou"
Have you seen Puanga rising to the east at dawn? Appearing between May and June, Puanga - the star Rigel in the constellation Orion, signals the beginning of winter and marks the Māori New Year for Taranaki iwi.
It's a special time of year - a time to pause, reflect and remember those who have passed on before us. A time to gather together to share stories, to sing and dance, to learn from one another and feast on the harvest from our gardens.
A time to look ahead to the coming year and plan towards future aspirations.
The Govett Brewster Art Gallery wishes to acknowledge and celebrate Puanga with our local community. We thank the voices of tangata whenua whose knowledge has been captured and shared in this powerful short film.
Along with Puanga, there are other star constellations (ie. Matariki) that mark the Māori New Year. People celebrate Puanga, Matariki - the Māori New Year in many different ways.
We would love to see the meaningful and creative ways you have spent marking this significant time.
Did you brave the cold to watch Puanga or Matariki rise at dawn?
Gather around an outside fire? Catch piharau (lamprey eels)? Share a meal? Sing a song, carve, paint, draw, write something inspired by the Māori New Year?
Please share with us how you have celebrated the Māori New Year with your whānau, friends, school, hapū/iwi, community by tagging us on Instagram @govettbrewster.
Toi Mā Te Whānau
Lets embrace Puanga, a star that marks the Māori New Year, and make art that expresses gratitude.
When Puanga (also known as Rigel) is seen rising in the eastern sky between May and June, it signals a special time for the people of Taranaki – the Māori New Year.
In some places around Aotearoa New Zealand, Matariki (a cluster of stars known as Pleiades) marks the Māori New Year. However, Matariki is difficult to see from Taranaki because it is low in the sky. That is why the Māori New Year in Taranaki is celebrated when Puanga appears.
Ngā Whata o Puanga - when Puanga appeared in the dawn sky, Taranaki iwi would give food to Puanga on raised storage platforms called whata. They were giving thanks to ngā atua Māori, the Māori gods. It is now our turn to give thanks.
Before we get making, why don’t you read, Celebrating Puanga at Ramanui, and watch the short film ‘Ngā Hua o te Tau Hou, The Fruits of the Māori New Year’? There is a lot we can learn about Puanga!
You will need:
He taonga, a natural treasure (choose one): rock, leaf (thicker leaves work best ie. puka, harakeke), shell, stick/ driftwood
Pastels OR Paint/Paintbrushes
Newspaper or table cover
Go on a ‘treasure’ hunt - In your garden, in the bush or at the beach, look for a natural taonga, a treasure ie. a rock, leaf, shell… Soon, you will draw or paint on it. Is it big enough? Is it strong enough?
Yes, it’s cold outside. No, you - Freeze! Pause! Stop! Take a quiet moment to think about the people, things, memories and experiences you are thankful for. Share these thoughts with someone.
I am thankful for… going fishing with my granddad.
I am thankful for… my pet dog.
I am thankful for… my funny cousins.
I am thankful for… the river near my house.
Think about ONE in more detail - What does it look like? How does it move? How does it smell? How does it taste? How does it make me feel?
Start making marks on your natural taonga with pastels, paints or markers. Straight lines, curved lines, squiggly lines, jagged lines, dots.
Will you use one colour or many colours?
Will you add a word? A word that expresses what you are thankful for.
When you have finished, find somewhere special for your taonga ie. on a shelf or table. At this time of Puanga, the Māori New Year, it is important to give thanks, to show gratitude.
We would love to see your taonga and learn more about what you are thankful for. Make sure you tag us or #GBFamilyArt so we can share them.
"It's a special time of year... A time to look ahead to the coming year and plan towards future aspirations".