Liturgy of Celebration at Matariki

Matariki is a time to prepare, learn, share and celebrate.

We acknowledge our whanau, and remember those who have passed on from this world. We share our resources. We dream and set goals for the future. And we celebrate who we are, and our life in this place—this community, this beautiful homeland—Aotearoa; this world, this universe.

In our liturgy of celebration, we share a part of our lives, our hopes, a portion of our resources and gifts. Some of us have brought photographs of our whanau and tipuna—our family and forebears.

We value families and caregivers of all sorts and shapes and sizes, and we honour those who have gone before us: the stars in the skies, in our lives, who shine on in us and in our descendents: Children of earth and sky.

We share our memories and stories—and we receive a star to symbolise our dead.

Leader: Aroha maiaroha atu.
Response: Love towards us, love going out from us.

Matariki is a time of thanks for the good harvest and for sharing what we have for the good of all. We all have times of needing help, whether financial support, words of encouragement with a dream or project or relationship, the loan of a home or a car, professional counselling, or the open ear, or arms, of a friend when the days are dark and the world feels like Te Kore, the Nothingness.

To those who have shared and supported  and loved us back to the light, we give thanks, and thankfully, we share what we have with others.

Aroha maiaroha atu
Love towards us, love going out from us.

At Matariki, we pause to stargaze.
To dream our dreams and plan our actions for a better world, an earth transformed, made new. We think of the things we can do to make poverty history; to care for our mother the earth, to savour and conserve her resources; to invigorate and sustain this community of faith. So we share our hopes and dreams, by writing them down, or sharing them with our neighbour.

Aroha maiaroha atu
Love towards us, love going out from us.

We celebrate our cultures and languages, our spirit and our people:
Nga tikanga, nga reo. Nga whenua, nga tangata.

Where we can right past wrongs, where we can support our nation’s leaders to act righteously on our behalf , where we can make a difference by our attitudes of openness to what we do not know, where we can honour the history of our tangata whenua and our settler or immigrant forebears, where we can welcome newcomers: migrants and refugees, those who seek justice and freedom in a new country; where we honour the aspirations of our young people whose dreams & language, music & culture, we don’t always understand; where we can walk in others’ shoes and share  their load – let us give of our lives, our resources, and our hearts.

Aroha maiaroha atu
Love towards us, love going out from us.

If you have written your ideas about the futurepersonal or community goalsyour intentions for action, your suggestions for respecting our father sky, our mother earth and acting justly towards our sisters and brothers, and if you would like to share your offerings of money, please bring them forward nowand take a star: to honour the memory of those who have gone before, and of our own place as reflectors and sharers of light. 

For those who would rather remain in the pews, an offering basket and a basket of stars will be handed around; please give and receive your gift.

Aroha maiaroha atu
Love towards us, love going out from us.


This litany and the ‘Prayers of the People’ were written (or adapted) for the Matariki Celebration service held at St Andrew’s on The Terrace, Wellington on Sunday 3 July 2005. They have been published as part of the whole service which is reproduced online in the ‘Special Services’ section of the Presbyterian Church of Aotearoa New Zealand website.


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All image credits © bronwyn angela white (2017), Kāpiti, New Zealand