The rise of Matariki signified the start of the New Year for Maori. This year Matariki begins today and if you’re a keen stargazer hoping for a glimpse of the star cluster tonight, then you need to be aware of the simple fact that catches out 99% of people interested in viewing the constellation: It rises early in the morning. At when first viewed is quickly extinguished by sunrise. As the year goes on though, it does get higher in the sky, but New Year is about the RISING, so you need to get up early and look east from around 6:30am
In English, the cluster is known as the Pleiades, its ancient Greek name, or the Seven Sisters. The Hawaiian name is Makali'i, or 'eyes of royalty', and in Japan it is Subaru, meaning 'gathered together'.
The reappearance of the seven Matariki stars - which translated have two meanings: mata ariki (eyes of God) and mata riki (little eyes) - signals the beginning of the Māori New Year.