We have turned our thoughts to the night sky many times over the past few months, reflecting on Matariki and the significance of traditional Māori star lore during the Matariki period. This week, it is the moon that is diverting our attention. Te Rākaunui – the full moon – is always a spectacular event, and even more so in this instance as it will be the last supermoon for this calendar year.
A supermoon is a new or full moon that coincides with the moment when the moon is orbiting closest to Earth. On these occasions, Rākaunui appears larger than usual and may result in a king tide – and for some people, a heightened emotional state.
August’s supermoon is commonly known as the Sturgeon Moon, drawing on mātauranga from Native American tribes who observed the large number of sturgeon fish that were found in the Great Lakes in North America at this time of year.
As we revitalise the maramataka here in Aotearoa, it is fascinating to see the overlap with the way that many other indigenous people traditionally used the lunar calendar to predict the best times to cultivate and harvest crops, and fish and hunt for certain species. Today’s supermoon is also an opportunity for us to reflect upon another common theme from the past few months – the importance of making time to stop and smell the roses, or in this instance, to stop and view the Sturgeon Moon. Too often we find ourselves getting caught up in the daily grind, one busy week blending into another – so much so that if you’re like me, you might be experiencing some disbelief that it’s August already.
Tonight, I will be standing outside, hoping for clear skies and the opportunity to glimpse or even gaze upon the full glory of Rākaunui – the Sturgeon Moon. As I take a moment to absorb the wonder of our universe, I will be clearing my mind and renewing my energy so that I can come back to mahi next week, ready to continue the important work of Whānau Ora.