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Home > Categories > Books > Kids - Middle > MATARIKI Around the World: A Cluster of Stars, a Cluster of Stories review

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Score: 10.0/10  [2 reviews]
5 out of 5
ProdID: 9012 - MATARIKI Around the World: A Cluster of Stars, a Cluster of Stories -  Written by Rangi Matamua & Miriama Kamo

MATARIKI Around the World: A Cluster of Stars, a Cluster of Stories
Sample/s Supplied by:
Click to search for all products supplied by Scholastic (NZ)

Disclosure StatementFULL DISCLOSURE: A number of units of this product have, at some time, been provided to KIWIreviews by Scholastic (NZ) or their agents for the sole purposes of unbiased, independent reviews. No fee was requested, offered nor accepted by KIWIreviews or the reviewers themselves - these are genuine, unpaid consumer reviews.
June 2022

MATARIKI Around the World: A Cluster of Stars, a Cluster of Stories product reviews

Proud to promote NZ productsThe Matariki star cluster holds great importance for Maori and the people of Aotearoa New Zealand, but it is seen and celebrated across the world. The Matariki constellation is known by many different names (including Pleiades); from times of old, it has been used to guide people from many different lands.

This book has been beautifully illustrated by Isobel Joy Te Aho-White. Nine separate stories explore the Maori Matariki stars, and twelve more from different cultures around the globe reference the same constellation.

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astronomy   cluster   constellation   cosmos   isobel joy te ahowhite   matariki   miriama kamo   navigator   new zealand   nzmade   rangi matamua   star
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Click here to read the profile of samantha203

Review by: samantha203 (Samantha)
Dated: 3rd of December, 2022

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This Review: 10/10
Age Appropriate:
Score 10 out of 10
Score 10 out of 10
Score 10 out of 10
Personal Choice:
Score 10 out of 10

Matariki Around the World is a fabulous book celebrating the Matariki cluster of stars and their importance here in Aotearoa/New Zealand. Co written by Rangi Matamua and Miriama Kamo the book delves into the origins of Matariki right back to the beginning of time and explores each of the stars and their significance. The book is beautifully illustrated by Isobel Joy Te Aho-White from cover to cover. With the embossed imagery and metallic font on the sturdy hardcover it draws you in at first sight. The double page illustrations throughout are stunning and each adds a important visual to accompany the story it connects to.

There are many Matariki stories but this book in particular is very special. I love how it connects us to other stories from around the world, while the star cluster itself remains the same the names and history it has for different countries changes. This is great to show children how New Zealand connects to other countries and cultures around the world. Many of the stories hold similarities in what they mean to the different countries and one thing is for certain the cluster of stars is definitely important all around the world.

The timing of the release of the book is also significant with Matariki becoming a public holiday in New Zealand for the first time ever. This is great and reflects on how we are growing and honouring our past and a book like this is perfect for honouring this important milestone. Looking forward to Matariki being an annual public holiday it is more important than ever to teach children the significance of the occasion and what it all really means. This book does that in an enjoyable way with easy to understand and playful language.

At the front of the book we are introduced to the authors and illustrator with a little bit of information about them and what Matariki means to them. I love this addition and spent some time reading these extra bits to my children. At the back of the book we are also provided a glossary containing a mixture of both Maori and English words used throughout the book. I love this touch so children and adults alike can learn the meanings of unfamiliar words. There is also a section inviting the reader to think about what they want from Matariki and a handy suggestion on how to wish someone a happy Matariki.

We loved this book and it is certainly one we will treasure and use year after year at Matariki. This would also make a great teaching resource in schools to build on children's knowledge of Matariki and its importance.

Click here to read the profile of savta

Review by: savta (Jo)
Dated: 30th of July, 2022

Link to this review Report this review


This Review: 10/10
Age Appropriate:
Score 10 out of 10
Score 10 out of 10
Score 10 out of 10
Personal Choice:
Score 10 out of 10

There could not be a more perfect timing for the launch of a new book about Matariki. 2022 marks the first year that Matariki is recognised as a public holiday in Aotearoa New Zealand. There are many European festivals like Easter and Christmas which have long been celebrated here, but this is a recognition of Maori traditions and values that has been long overdue. It marks the acknowledgment of a new partnership between tangata whenua (Maori) and tauiwi (non Maori). My daughter had already seen the book as her school librarian had purchased a copy for the school library, so she was overjoyed when I arrived with a copy for Miss Ten to review with me.

What makes this book stand out from previous books on Matariki is the way it links to other cultures, positioning Maori cosmology in the wider world context. The first part of the book features a full, informative account of Matariki as it is celebrated here (although different parts of the country have slightly different ways of commemorating it, which the authors do point out). The second part draws parallels with twelve other cultures in various parts of the world. Although each culture has a different name for Matariki and the rituals and back stories are unique to each, there are enough similarities to show a distinct link.

I like the combination of science, mythology, and narrative which, although well researched and presented, does not frame everything in language beyond a child's understanding. This is a book for eight year olds through to adults; the frequent use of asides and colloquial expressions ensures that the child's attention is commandeered and maintained. A good teacher will rephrase lessons in everyday speech so that the pupils are engaged; this book uses the same technique to draw in the young reader and ensure his learning journey is an enjoyable one.

The illustrations are beautifully aligned to the text with judicious selection of colour and pattern. Looking at the different star patterns, my daughter found herself humming "Somewhere Out There" as she was reminded that everyone lives under the same sky and sees the same stars! Extra information is provided on each page with a surrounding circle or a block of text placed between two lines. This ensures that children can read the main text first and return later for the "extras".

There is a short glossary at the end of the book which contains the technical words (both Maori and English) which are used. Miss Ten found this extremely useful. It is great to see the two languages included in the one list; this is no translator but rather a treasury of words the young reader may not know. There is also a comprehensive index which enables the reader to look up individual stars and gods; this makes quick referencing simplicity itself.

At the conclusion of the book is a summary of the three main themes of Matariki in Aotearoa New Zealand. It places Matariki in the context of aligning with the past, present and future, and gives a framework of meaning for the whole celebration. Rather than just another public holiday, Matariki is presented as a time of reflection and unity with one's wider whanau. Finally, there is a suggestion that a child could use the idea of Matariki to inspire him to endeavour to set and complete a task of his own choosing, in the spirit of the stars.

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