Matariki. A time for renewal
It's Matariki, a time for renewal and the very beginning of a new cycle of sowing, planting, growing, and harvesting. The rising of Mātariki heralds the first lunar month of the Māori year, and it’s a good time to plan for the coming growing season.
Two stars of the Matariki cluster are closely linked with the cultivation of food and medicine: Tupu-ā-rangi represents cultivation from above, such as birds, berries and fruit from trees; Tupu-ā-nuku represents cultivation of the earth, including healthy soil, kūmara, and plants closer to the earth like kawakawa. Traditionally, the brightness or otherwise of the Matariki stars on rising indicated whether the coming months would be cold or warm, and planting of new crops took place accordingly.
The Maramataka, the traditional Māori lunar calendar, was developed over time to provide a guide to fishing, gardening, and other activities in te ao tūroa, the natural world. During each lunar month, days are noted as being favourable or otherwise for planting or gathering, with regional differences between iwi. Further information is available on the Living by the Stars with Professor Rangi Mātāmua Facebook page.
Another useful resource for planning your garden for the year can be found at GardenGrow. Here you can see what to plant when, specifically for where you live in New Zealand. And while most of us understand how the timing of planting can affect the end yield, for plants used for their therapeutic properties, the timing of their harvest is equally important.
The plants Artemis uses are harvested at different times, in order to harness the highest levels of their active constituents. For example, roots of perennial plants like Liquorice are usually harvested in the autumn or winter, after the foliage has died back, whereas the leaves and flowers of Thyme are best harvested when the plants are coming into full flower in early summer. While harvest occurs for each species at approximately the same time each year, it can vary by days or even weeks, depending on the seasonal conditions.
Understanding which part of a plant is therapeutically active, and when and how it is best harvested, requires integrating both traditional knowledge refined over hundreds of years, and practical knowledge gained from experience in growing in different soils, terrain, and climates. This is one reason why not all plant material grown for therapeutic use is equally potent, and why it is important as a consumer to know a natural health product manufacturer has robust quality measures in place to ensure effective ingredients are sourced. At Artemis we won't compromise on what is best for your health by sourcing inferior ingredients; we use only those sourced from suppliers with rigorous growing and quality standards, so you can rely on them being effective, and free from chemicals and environmental pollutants.
Artemis believes we thrive only when we live harmoniously with our natural environment, and conservation and respect for the environment are strong themes for the celebration of Matariki. It’s a good time to assess our impact on the world around us and to recommit to respecting and protecting nature so that future generations are able to enjoy the same quality of life we do.
Mānawatia a Matariki