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Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Matariki 2009: Maori New Year calendar - Observations

The Maori Party Bill to make Matariki a public holiday and the official Maori New Year was provocative. It was not drawn so will probably go back in the private members' ballot next year. But when they use the modern Western calendar to fix the date in relation to the lunar cycle (they say the new moon that rises after the first moon in May) rather than use the Solstice it means it is not truly tikanga Maori. It's a convenient fix. It's relationship with the heliacal rise of Matariki in late May is probably why they set the date in May and not in June, so that it can be from 30th May - 28th June (I may be off a day).

Matariki is May/June. It is here and it is in Tahiti. The New Year is prefaced by the late May observations of Matariki and the following moon, Pipiri - the first moon - rises in June. Pipiri is called the June month as that is the month in which it rises (and can go over into July).

The 13th or zero month might be Matariki month - which will arise in May at the start of the Matariki observations at the end of the year. [UPDATE-- 9:30PM Tuesday 30/06/2009: This month is often referred to as Te tahi-o-Pipiri - the first Pipiri (it will be called "Matariki" in the table below to denote the extra status of the month and its association with May - rather than June).

Sir Peter Buck on the Polynesian Rakahangan 13-month cycle and his remarks - some pertaining to NZ:

Though Pipiri was the 1st month in the Maori calendar and the 13th month in the Rakahangan, they were both months evidently in the lunar month of May-June. In the Rakahangan calendar the rising of the Pleiades ended in the Pipiri month, and in the Mataatua calendar of New Zealand it commenced the Pipiri. It is significant that the Maori 13th month was also known as Te tahi-o-Pipiri.
The principle is similar to the New Zealand method of adding a 13th month when the Pleiades do not rise in the 12th month of the cycle.
The Rakahangan information establishes a hitherto unrecorded method of correlating the lunar cycle with the Pleiades year. It is known from various writings that the lunar cycle was used throughout Polynesia and that in most areas the appearance of the Pleiades in the morning or evening sky gave the sign for the commencement of the new year. None of the early writers who had the opportunity of obtaining information from Polynesian astronomers have recorded how the Polynesians corrected their annual lunar cycle to prevent a dislocation of the seasons. Best (2) has recorded that the Maori year commenced with the first new moon after the morning rising of the Pleiades. He recorded lists of cycles of 12 months and some of 13 months. Though he did not follow the matter up, it may be inferred from his work that when the Pleiades did not rise in the 12th lunar month of the cycle, the Maoris had to delay the commencement of the next cycle for a whole lunar month. This meant the addition of an extra lunar month to the 12-month cycle. The intercalation of a 13th month was decided not by mathematical calculations but by the simple rule that the new year could not start until the first new moon after the morning rising of the Pleiades.
The Rakahangan system of the constant split 13th month is more accurate than the intercalated 13th month attributed to New Zealand, but there are indications that the split 13th month was also known in New Zealand.
It is clear that the whakaauanga or morning rising of the Pleiades in June was the guide to the commencement of the year, in the month of Whakaau. The morning rising of the Pleiades is the only definite sign given by which the annual cycle of months could be inaugurated. Other stars are mentioned with each month, but they were merely seen in those months and there are no details concerning their appearance or disappearance as with the Pleiades. No mention is made of the Pleiades in the November-December period, so that the evening rising of that constellation was of no significance in the Rakahangan calendar. After Whakaau was inaugurated by the morning rising of the Pleiades on approximately June 5, the tau marama or sequence of months followed automatically with the rising of each new moon. From an astronomical point of view, the morning rising of the Pleiades in June is much more definitely defined than the evening rising in November. In May the Pleiades disappear and cannot be seen at any time of the night. Their reappearance in June in the eastern sky before sunrise is thus the reappearance of that which was lost and is hailed with singing and dancing.

A solar fix for the lunar conundrum could be thus:

Maori New Year

Tikanga Maramataka (Method for determining a Maori Calendar)
— based on the lunar and solar cycles:

0. Matariki hails the new year.
1. The ascending, new or full moon at the Winter Solstice (Gregorian calendar: 20/21 June) is Pipiri.
2. Pipiri is the first moon of the Maori lunar calendar year.
3. The intercalary '13th' or zero month must be added after the last month (Haratua) —
  • after two consecutive ascending, new or full moons (Pipiri) at the Solstice, or
  • after a descending (Pipiri) moon at Solstice that follows an ascending new or full moon (Pipiri) at the Solstice.
    4. The intercalary month may be considered both a 13th month (as it signals the end of the year) and a zero month (as a prelude to the new year (Pipiri) moon.
    5. The next moon after the intercalary month will be Pipiri (even if it is new or post-solstice)
    6. Observations may be made of Matariki before each New Year, starting —
  • the day of the new moon of the intercalary month when an intercalary month (19/20 May - 31 May), or
  • the day before a full lunar cycle (30 days) before the Winter solstice (22/23 May),
    and ending —
  • the day after the new year (Pipiri) moon when an intercalary month (20 June - 30 June), or
  • the day after the last day on which a Pipiri Moon could possibly rise (30 June)
  • 13th/zero months marked "Matariki" from new moon to next new (Pipiri) moon
  • Moon phase source (may be +/-1 day in this reckoning)
  • Full/new/ascending or descending moons at the Solstice 20/21 June.
    *Italics* represent alternative first moon according to Rahui Katene's draft Bill for the Maori Party (using the day after the first moon after the moon that rises in May)
    Calendar using the above method:

    Dates of Matariki and Maori New Year

    2007 17 June ascending
    2008 5 June descending
    2009 25 May - 23 June Matariki.

    Pipiri post-solstice: 24 June
    152KT151KT Years of the Kingitanga (year 0 = 1857/58)[Correction: The Kingitanga 150th anniversary stamps were issued last year - May 2008. But 2nd May 2009 was the Kingitanga 150 as well according to the Office of the King and Tainui.]
    170TW Years of the Treaty of Waitangi (Year 0=1839/40)
    367NZ Years since Tasman (Year 0=1642/43)

    368NZ 2010 13 June ascending
    369NZ 2011 2 June descending
    370NZ 2012 21 May - 19 June Matariki. full/ascending: 20 June
    371NZ 2013 9 June ascending
    372NZ 2014 29 May - 28 June Matariki. Post solstice: 29 June
    373NZ 2015 17 June ascending
    374NZ 2016 6 June full
    375NZ 2017 25 May - 24 June Matariki. Post-solstice: 25 June
    376NZ 2018 14 June ascending
    377NZ 2019 4 June descending
    378NZ 2020 22 May - 21 June Matariki. New/post-solstice: 22 June
    379NZ 2021 11 June ascending
    380NZ 2022 *31 May* 30 May - 29 June Matariki. Post-solstice: 30 June
    381NZ 2023 19 June ascending
    382NZ 2024 7 June ascending/full
    383NZ 2025 27 May - 25 June Matariki. Post-solstice: 26 June
    384NZ 2026 16 June ascending
    385NZ 2027 5 June descending
    386NZ 2028 24 May - 22 June Matariki. Post-solstice: 23 June
    387NZ 2029 13 June ascending
    388NZ 2030 2 June descending
    389NZ 2031 21 May - 20 June Matariki. New/ascending: 21 June
    390NZ 2032 9 June ascending
    391NZ 2033 28 May - 26 June Matariki. Post-solstice: 27 June
    392NZ 2034 17 June ascending
    393NZ 2035 7 June descending
    394NZ 2036 25 May - 24 June Matariki. Post-solstice: 25 June
    395NZ 2037 14 June ascending
    396NZ 2038 4 June descending
    397NZ 2039 23 May - 21 June Matariki. Post-solstice: 22 June
    398NZ/200TW 2040 10 June ascending
    399NZ 2041 30 May - 28 June Matariki. Post-solstice: 29 June
    400NZ 2042 18 June ascending
    2043 8 June ascending
    2044 27 May - 25 June Matariki. Post-solstice: 26 June
    2045 16 June ascending
    2046 5 June descending
    2047 24 May - 23 June Matariki. Post-solstice: 24 June
    2048 12 June ascending
    2049 1 June descending
    2050 20 May - 19 June Matariki. new/ascending: 20 June
    2051 9 June ascending
    2052 28 May - 26 June Matariki. Post-solstice: 27 June
    2053 17 June ascending
    2054 7 June full/descending
    2055 26 May - 25 June Matariki. Post-solstice: 26 June
    2056 14 June ascending
    200KT 2057 3 June descending
    2058 22 May - 21 June Matariki. New/ascending: 22 June
    2059 11 June ascending
    2060 29 May - 28 June Matariki. Post-solstice: 29 June
    2061 18 June ascending
    2062 8 June ascending
    2063 28 May - 26 June Matariki. Post-solstice: 27 June
    2064 15 June ascending
    2065 5 June descending
    2066 24 May - 22 June Matariki. Post-solstice: 23 June
    2067 12 June ascending
    2068 1 June descending
    2069 20 May - 19 June Matariki. Ascending: 20 June ascending
    2070 9 June ascending
    2071 29 May - 27 June Matariki. Post-solstice: 28 June

    Katene's Bill, curiously, uses the Roman Calendar:


    Make the last weekday in June the Maori New Year public holiday observation:

  • 30th June is the last possible date for the Pipiri moon to rise.
  • The moon seen on those three possible days of 28,29,30th June must be Pipiri (the next, 2nd moon - Hongongoi - not being visible in any case until 1st or 2nd of July).
  • The First semester of most universities and the 2nd terms of most schools end within a week of this date - and their holidays/mid-year break begins.
  • The government's financial years - the Crown's fiscal years - end on the 30th June.
  • The last work day means there is no need for a "Mondayisation" (as I believe Katene's Bill has - not online, see above image) and there is scope for the day to fall so that it makes a long weekend or will fall to break up the week and create a short week or an opportunity to an early start to the break (if the 30th fell on a Wednesday or Thursday).


    At 1/7/09 10:37 am, Anonymous Anonymous said...

    Lets give the queens birthday the flick and celebrate the Matariki with a long week end!


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