Story: Māori creation traditions

‘Te Matariki’

‘Te Matariki’

This artwork of 1994 by Brett Graham explores the themes of creation, growth and knowledge, which are often linked in Māori cosmology. The seven-pointed star shape represents Matariki (the Pleiades constellation). Appearing in southern skies during June, it marks the start of the new year for Māori. The shape of the work also resembles a young plant, symbolising growth and striving for knowledge. The steps signify the god Tāne’s journey through the 12 heavens to retrieve the baskets of knowledge.

Using this item

Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa
Sculpture by Brett Graham

Permission of the Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa must be obtained before any re-use of this image.

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How to cite this page:

Te Ahukaramū Charles Royal, 'Māori creation traditions - Different creation traditions', Te Ara - the Encyclopedia of New Zealand, http://www.TeAra.govt.nz/en/artwork/2440/te-matariki (accessed 12 December 2019)

Story by Te Ahukaramū Charles Royal, published 8 Feb 2005