Ngā mihi o te tau hōu Pākehā

What does this even mean???

Ngā mihi o te tau hōu Pākehā ki a tātou katoa! Happy European/English New year greetings to us all!

You may have recently seen, read or heard this Māori greeting and wondered what it means (if not translated) and maybe 'why' the Pākehā has been added on at the end?? 

Te Ao Māori (the Māori world view) traditionally did not calenderise the year based on a Gregorian Calendar- we have our own maramataka-lunar calendar which quite simply means 'the turning of the moon' and begins in Pipiri-June/July at the reappearance of Matariki (a star, a cluster of stars known around the world by various other names) or for some iwi-tribe it is the rising of Puanga.  

This rising would give our people signs of the year ahead in terms of weather, of how planting and harvesting crops, fishing and sourcing other kai from our awa-river and overall how plentiful or scarce these supplies would be.  Matariki and/or Puanga onnects us to Te Taiao-the natural environment providing tohu-signs of the moon, ngā whetū- the stars, te āhua o te rangi-weather patterns... and while I am no expert or even close to it- I absolutely love hearing the stories and reading the history and research about this amazing way of life our people had.  

Learning and understanding more about it in our own whānau-family, other hapū and iwi-tribes, and listening to or reading the amazing ancient expert knowledge handed down.   not only allows all of us to understand how intelligent our people were and how the world is only just catching up, but also to understand their deep respect, love and honour to our natural environment and how it sustains us - NOT the other way around.  Not only Māori but many other indigenous, native cultures around the world have similar philosophies.  

This is but one reason why I believe it isn't discriminatory but the very opposite and is about identification that as Māori we have always had a different New Year celebration time which for many years has been pushed aside in our colonised society.  In addition to that, although we may celebrate both there is a vast difference of meaning, of depth and of the spiritual connection between the two.  This is my reason for feeling at peace with sending that message out, and as a Māori - Pākehā wahine, I respectfully celebrate both very differently and choose to continue to immerse myself in learning more of that depth and beauty of Te Ao Māori.