Welcome, stars of the New Year

If you were to look at a New Zealand calendar, there’s a good chance you would see 18 June marked as Matariki ~ 18 June being the official start of Aotearoa’s New Year. I have written previously about Matariki, the traditional Maori New Year and its connection to the star cluster, Pleiades, as well as its connection to  my life.  You can find the post at this link.


This New Year, instead of a re-hash of my own limited knowledge of Matariki,  I  invite you to join me over at Juliet Batten’s  blog, http://www.julietbatten.co.nz/musing-on-matariki/ , where you can see the wonder of one of New Zealand’s own seasonal events through a different pair of eyes.  Juliet is the author of  ‘Celebrating the Southern Seasons, Rituals for Aotearoa’. In her book, she writes with wisdom and clarity about our inherited ( Pakeha )  festivals, and how we can attune them to the seasons of New Zealand, and the traditional observances of the Maori calendar.

Despite Juliet’s clear instructions  on locating Matariki in  our southern skies ( “start with Orion, move diagonally down to the left, past Taurus and look low” ), I have failed to do so: mostly because I am functionally illiterate when it comes to reading the stars, but also because, this year, the weather has, so far, been distinctly unhelpful. Like this, in fact, ~soggy ~

Soggy boggy rhubarb

Soggy boggy rhubarb

with both night and day cloaking themselves in the same dark, dense, water-logged fabric.

Now, whilst I may be failing at star-craft and Pleiades-tracking, I have  spotted the return of another visitor, this Matariki. It’s none other than SOFIA, the ultra sophisticated and ultra modern star-gazer, from afar.

Sofia, a stratospheric observatory, is a joint venture  between Nasa and the German Aerospace Centre and will be based in Christchurch until July 24th. There will be 18 missions during the six-week deployment, each lasting ten hours. Although the main focus this year is Pluto, I am sure the crew on Sofia will get some fine glimpses of the Pleiades.

This is a photo I took of Sofia during her visit in July 2013. My old post on Sofia can be found on this link. https://silkannthreades.wordpress.com/2013/07/21/2408/#comments



If it weren’t for the dripping state of the landscape,

Dripping Nandina

Dripping Nandina

I would have been out getting you a new photo of Sofia. But, as it is, I  prefer being indoors,    salivating over   gazing at the stars of my kitchen laboratory:

Tarte Tatin ( the first I have made );

Golden Tarte Tatin

Golden Tarte Tatin

Apricot and Feijoa Cobbler;

Sundrop Cobbler

Sundrop Cobbler

Poached Quinces;

Celestial festive quinces in honour of Matariki

Celestially arranged festive quinces in honour of Matariki

Piping hot pumpkin soup;

A little sunshine dips into the pumpkin soup.

A little sunshine dips into the pumpkin soup. (Do you see the pink monster at the window waiting for her turn at the soup bowl?)

Hmmm……looking at my kitchen creations, does anyone else get the impression that I am hungry for the sun? Thank goodness, the solstice and the rebirth of the sun are nigh. 🙂

Happy New Year. 😀

© silkannthreades



179 thoughts on “Welcome, stars of the New Year

  1. Wendy L. Macdonald

    Yummy looking desserts and soup. We’re having the opposite weather here, and now I think I’ll celebrate the next rainfall we get by making a fruit crumble using blueberries (which seem quite happy about all this sunshine & hot weather). By the way, the “dripping Nandina” looks lovely—good capture.
    Blessings ~ Wendy ❀

  2. jennyredhen

    Hi there Gallivanta I have seen pleiades many times. Its is very twinkly. I think there is seven stars and it ts also called the seven sisters. You cant see seven at once though as they are all twinkling. you can only see four or five, one of them will go off and a new one will pop up. Its very very pretty. I always see it in the east and lowish in the sky. I will have another look and see if I can spot it again and let you know. Re your ongoing colds… a very good tonic to get over colds and flu is Floradix. It is made by red seal and sold at most supermarkets with the vitamins etc, This tonic really works. Have a read of the ingredients and you will see why. You and your husband should both take it to build yourselves up again if you are a bit run down by the misery of chch winter.

    1. Gallivanta Post author

      Floradix sounds very fortifying. I will check it out when I get to the supermarket. Do tell me if you see the Pleaides. I read today that those with telescopes may get a rare glimpse of Pluto about 5am Tuesday. Such excitement in the skies. Sofia, of course, is here specifically to sight Pluto.

      1. jennyredhen

        Your friend Juliet tells me Pleiades/Matariki is much easier to see in the summer. it must be higher up in the sky then. I think I have always sern it in the summer months. When I walk out my back door .. to the East it is twinkling right above in the sky. once you find it you will love it . it is so pretty… as I said before very twinkly. It looks a long way away. I will get back to you in a few months about this.. It wont be so cold at night then either.

  3. womanseyeview

    You’re making such good use of your rainy days – it all looks yummy! The photo of the nandina dripping with jewels is extra special but I too wish you a little sunshine.

    1. Gallivanta Post author

      We have another little peek of sunshine appearing this morning. I hope it grows stronger over the course of the day…..it must, there’s Monday washing to be done. 😀


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