Call for realignment of Māori names for lunar calendar

By Regan Paranihi

Māori astronomer and Associate Professor at the University of Waikato, Dr. Rangi Mataamua, wants to realign the current Māori names of the week and months of the mainstream calendar by going back to the original Māori names.

He says that both the mainstream lunar calendar and the Māori lunar calendar are completely different, however, the current Māori names that are being used reflect that of the Māori calendar.

“The mainstream calendar follows the sun and us who circulate it. The Māori calendar follows the stars and the moon.”

Dr. Mataamua believes that due to colonisation Māori tend to think with a European perspective and in this case that is what he believes has happened.

“In past years, Māori have perhaps thought about putting a Māori twist on a European outlook and names such as Rātū, Rāhina, Rāmere have been released that represent a European outlook.”

He says that back in the 90s’ it was a good idea to change the names, however, it might be time to correct the calendars by leaving the mainstream strategies in the mainstream world and the Māori strategies in the Māori world.

“I’m not saying we are changing the names, we are more so reviving the old names again, reviving the correct procedure that was changed in the past.”

Dr. Mataamua is set to go on an international roadshow from the 11 April to the 7 June.

He will be starting in the South Island then gradually making his way to Australia where he will end his tour in Melbourne.

There he will talk more on both the lunar and solar system and how it affects today’s society.

Visit the Royal Society of New Zealand website to find out when he will be in a town near you.