Celebrating the Maori New Year: a Matariki Feast with the McBride Sisters

By McBride Sisters – July 13, 2023

Celebrating the Maori New Year: a Matariki Feast with the McBride Sisters

Today is Matariki Day in New Zealand, and we’re celebrating with traditional kai (food) and nontraditional wines from the McBride Sisters Collection!

Though Matariki Day has only been a public holiday in New Zealand since 2022, the holiday has a long history with rich traditions. Matariki is the Maori name for the Pleiades constellation – one of the key astronomical guides the Maori used to navigate on their first voyages to Aotearoa New Zealand. When this constellation returns to the sky each year in mid-winter (June/July for the Southern Hemisphere), Maori culture welcomes it as the start of a new year and new cycle of life. 

Traditionally, Matariki’s return is a celebration of the dead, when loved ones who passed in the last year take their place in the sky as stars. It also celebrates the completion of harvest, and honors our connection to the natural world. Many people in New Zealand mark the occasion by watching Matariki rise just before dawn, reflecting on the past and hopes for the future, and – of course – gathering with their whānau (family and chosen family) around great food!

What do you serve for a Matariki Day feast? Find inspiration in Maori tradition, and include ingredients celebrating the earth, the sea, fresh water, and the sky. To honor the earth, you can’t do better than our McBride Sisters Collection Papatūānuku Pinot Noir Reserve, grown in Central Otago, NZ and named for the Maori Mother Earth. The bright red fruit and mineral notes would be amazing with roast or grilled pork, and a side of kānga waru (steamed corn and sweet potato bread)! 

To salute the sea, seek out some fresh pāua (abalone) to eat raw as sashimi, or breaded and fried as spicy seafood patties. Pair either one with our McBride Sisters Collection Sparkling Brut Rosé from Hawke’s Bay, whose fresh and fruity bubbles are a perfect foil for spiciness. Or, steam up some New Zealand green lip mussels in coconut milk with lots of cilantro, ginger and chilies for an amazing match with our zesty McBride Sisters Collection Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc

To bring some freshwater foods to the feast, whip up a creamy smoked trout dip and enjoy with a glass of our luxuriously textured McBride Sisters Collection Reserve White Wine “Abalone or Pāua?”

To honor the sky, pick foods that grow high on trees – cherries, peaches, plums, figs, walnuts, almonds etc. – and use them to elevate your salad greens or creamy burrata. Fresh nectarines or peaches would be amazing with our McBride Sisters Collection Marlborough Pinot Gris! You could also bake your “sky” fruit into a crumble or crostata to end the Matariki feast on a sweet note.   

Whether your Matariki Day menu is traditional or totally original, we hope it brings your whānau together in the joyful bounty and spirit of the new year.

Mānawatia a Matariki! Welcome Matariki!