Story: Maramataka – the lunar calendar

Fishing by the moon

Fishing by the moon

In 1918 the ethnographer Elsdon Best obtained this fishing maramataka from Rev. Metara Te Ao-marere of Ōtaki, who had obtained it from Mita Te Tai. Although the nights of the moon are traditional, the symbols were invented in the 1800s. Each symbol represented a particular aspect of the night of the moon. For instance, straight lines indicated good nights for line fishing, and black dots for fishing by torchlight. A night such as Whiro, with a dot and a line, was good for both.

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Te Ara - The Encyclopedia of New Zealand
Reference: Elsdon Best, Fishing methods and devices of the Maori. Wellington: Dominion Museum, 1929, p. 112

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How to cite this page:

Paul Meredith, 'Maramataka – the lunar calendar - Nights of the month', Te Ara - the Encyclopedia of New Zealand, (accessed 30 September 2022)

Story by Paul Meredith, published 12 Jun 2006