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  • Writer's pictureJulie Wolbers

Celebrating Matariki 2024: The Bringer of Food

As the dawn of Matariki rises on Friday, June 28, Ribbonwood Retreat joins in the celebration of this profound and beautiful Māori tradition. Matariki, often referred to as the Māori New Year, is a time of reflection, connection and renewal. This year's theme, "Matariki heri kai," translates to "Matariki, the bringer of food," and it carries a deep significance that resonates with our values here at Ribbonwood Retreat.


Milk Way Star Gazing At Ribbonwood Retreat Franz Josef Glacier

The Philosophy of Matariki


Matariki is more than just the appearance of a star cluster; it's a celebration of life, community and the natural world. For the Māori, the re-emergence of Matariki in the winter sky heralds the New Year and signals a time to honour those who have passed, celebrate the present and plan for the future. Food plays a central role in these festivities, symbolizing sustenance, growth and the bounty of nature.


Astrophotography Ribbonwood Retreat Nighty Sky West Coast New Zealand

The proverb "Matariki whetū heri kai" encapsulates this sentiment, highlighting the stars of Matariki as harbingers of an abundant harvest. Each star in the Matariki cluster is linked to different aspects of the environment from which food is sourced:


  • Tupuānuku – Gardens

  • Tupuārangi – Forests

  • Waitī – Freshwater sources

  • Waitā – The ocean


These connections reaffirm our relationship with the environment and emphasize the importance of food in the celebration of Matariki.


Matariki and Ribbonwood Retreat: A Shared Ethos


At Ribbonwood Retreat, we strongly believe in nurturing our environment and growing our organic food. Our philosophy aligns seamlessly with the spirit of Matariki, especially this year’s theme. Just as the Māori honour the land and sea for their gifts, we too take pride in our sustainable practices and the fresh produce we cultivate in our backyard garden.


Fresh Organic Home Grown Greens Strawberries Blueberries Courgettes And Cherry Tomatoes

We use this homegrown bounty to prepare delicious, healthful meals for our guests, ensuring that each dish not only nourishes the body but also supports our commitment to the environment. By serving food that’s locally sourced and organically grown, we celebrate the ethos of Matariki every day – honouring the land, cherishing our community and fostering a deeper connection to the natural world.


To celebrate Matariki, we encourage you to take this opportunity to journey home, spend time with whānau and friends and enjoy feasting on fresh, locally sourced produce. Let’s embrace the teachings of Matariki and honour the bringer of food.


May this Matariki be a time of reflection, gratitude and renewal for you and your loved ones. Together, let’s celebrate the abundance of our environment and the joy of sharing it with those we hold dear.



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