Story: Maramataka – the lunar calendar

Fishing by the moon

Fishing by the moon

In 1918 the ethnographer Elsdon Best obtained this fishing maramataka from Rev. Metara Te Ao-marere of Ōtaki, who had obtained it from Mita Te Tai. Although the nights of the moon are traditional, the symbols were invented in the 1800s. Each symbol represented a particular aspect of the night of the moon. For instance, straight lines indicated good nights for line fishing, and black dots for fishing by torchlight. A night such as Whiro, with a dot and a line, was good for both.

Using this item

Te Ara - The Encyclopedia of New Zealand
Reference: Elsdon Best, Fishing methods and devices of the Maori. Wellington: Dominion Museum, 1929, p. 112

This item has been provided for private study purposes (such as school projects, family and local history research) and any published reproduction (print or electronic) may infringe copyright law. It is the responsibility of the user of any material to obtain clearance from the copyright holder.

All images & media in this story

How to cite this page:

Paul Meredith, 'Maramataka – the lunar calendar - Nights of the month', Te Ara - the Encyclopedia of New Zealand, http://www.TeAra.govt.nz/en/document/5387/fishing-by-the-moon (accessed 13 July 2020)

Story by Paul Meredith, published 12 Jun 2006