Kia ora! And here we are in Hereturikōkā, the third month of the Māori year, starting on the night of the New Moon, the 9th August.
Hey so let’s talk about the months while we’re here… The months as we know them in English/Western world are based on the Gregorian calendar. At the moment it’s August. In te reo Māori, August is Ākuhata. Hereturikōkā is not another name for August, Hereturikōkā is the name for the third month of Maramataka Māori; the Māori lunar calendar. You follow? For a more comprehensive explanation go to this blog post from Tuhi Stationary (hmmm, their website appears to be down at the moment, I will update the link ASAP, Possible being the operative word!)
Gregorian Months in Te Reo
- January…… Hānuere
- February…… Pēpuere
- March…… Māehe
- April…… Āperira
- May…… Mei
- June…… Hune
- July…… Hūrae
- August……. Ākuhata
- September……. Hepetema
- October…… Oketopa
- November……. Noema
- December…… Tihema
Maramataka Māori, Lunar Months
- 1; Pipiri (generally in June/Hune from the first New Moon)
- 2; Hōngongoi
- 3; Hereturikōkā
- 4; Mahuru
- 5; Whiringa-ā-nuku
- 6; Whiringa-ā-rangi
- 7; Hakihea
- 8; Kohitātea
- 9; Huitanguru
- 10; Poutūterangi
- 11; Paengawhāwhā
- 12; Haratua
I’ve always felt a bit conflicted with my headings, i.e. Maramataka Māori for Hōngongoi/July. I don’t want to mislead people in thinking A) Hōngongoi is te reo for July B) That my guide is going to lead you from the 1st of the month to the last day. But I do want to make it obvious for people whom aren’t familiar with the names of the Māori lunar calendar (which I dare say is the vast majority) as to what time period on the Gregorian calendar we’re looking at. This has all led me to an Ah-ha! moment “Maramataka Māori for Hereturikōka, August 9th- Sept 6th” It will work for now, but I feel it will need more tweaking…
Anyway, less theory and more practical, what are we to do this month? Getting ready for some major action is what we’re doing. We’re coming up to the most busiest, changeable, exciting and nerve wracking time of the gardeners year; not just this month, but for the next 3-4 months… Plants are budding. Will they get nailed by a frost? Seeds are sown. Will they grow? Seedlings are coming up. Is a hail storm on the way? So many flowers and blossoms. When will this wind stop? Plants are ordered. Will they arrive in one piece? (Hopefully if you ordered from me they’ll be right as rain!)
Haohaoata, 11th Ākuhata (August)
He pō ahua pai tēnei mō te hī koura, tuna, koura ono kūmara ono hoki i ētahi atu kākano
A very good day for planting kūmara or any seed, also crayfishing or torching eels, especially if the moon is out of sight.
If you grow kūmara, today is the day to put the tubers into sand boxes for the tupu (young plants) to grow. Kūmara need at least 3.5 months of beautiful summer months to produce a crop. Failing that, I know a few people whom grow them as marvellous vining house plants! (Kūmara are part of the Convolvulacea family… convolvulus… Gah!)
I would only sow seeds at this time if you have heat pads and a glasshouse or conservatory to transfer the seedlings to. If you can hold on, wait until Last Quarter which personally is my preferred period for sowing seeds.
Tamatea angaanga, 15th Aug
Not really the place to say (i.e. we’re all about the māra (garden) here) but it is a a very good day for fishing today. Make a wicked brew for your garden from the guts and bones!
Māwharu, 20th Aug
A good day for planting and/or pricking out seedlings. Foliar spray your garden with a nice organic brew- seaweed, fish, compost tea, vermiliquid. Remember to water it down until it looks like weak tea. Steer clear of very young plants or else it would be like feeding prime steak to a breastfed baby!
Rākanui + Rākaumatohi, 23 + 24th Aug
In frost free areas you can plant your early potatoes during this period. If you have covers or cloches for your gardens you can direct sow carrots and beetroots.
Over the next few days get your seed trays cleaned and dried, work out where you’re going to do your seed raising, get all your bits and bobs sorted, seed raising mix, labels, heat pads, cold frames, seeds! Do a couple of night patrols for slugs and snails (head torch, bucket of hot soapy water, non squeamish children).
Korekore piri ki ngā tangaroa, 30th Aug
Kicking into the Last Quarter period now – get into the garden and get busy! Everyday is a very good day for planting and sowing seeds until the 4th September. Most exceptional day for planting of anything is Tangaroa piri a roto, the 1st September.
Seeds to sow in the north/frost free areas; cabbages, cauliflowers, celery, lettuce, radishes, silverbeet, spinach + spring onions, broccoli, cucumbers + zucchini. Tomatoes, capsicum, chillies and eggplant; in trays indoors, need 20© day and night to germinate so will probably need a heat mat.
Seeds to sow in the south/cold inland areas; broadbeans, cabbages, kohlrabi, lettuces, onions, radishes, peas, silverbeet. Tomatoes, capsicum, chillies and eggplant; in trays indoors, need 20© day and night to germinate so will probably need a heat mat. Zuchinni + cucumber can be tried inside too. But only do these last five if you have a warm place to put them when they’re ready to be pricked out and to grow on until it’s warm enough to put them outside/in the garden.
Mauri, 5th September (Hepetema)
Tools down. Relax. Plot where everything is going to go. Order some perennial seedlings (herbs of course 😉) as a lot will be coming available by now. And prepare yourself for next lunar month, we’ll be going flat stick!
Reminder; I follow the Āti awa version of Maramataka Māori, there are many other versions that will differ. For more info about gardening by the moon read this post here.