Within the tribal domain of the Tainui people, Tupu-aa-nuku is the star associated with hua whenua, or produce of the Earth, such as kuumara (sweet potato). Naturally, Tupu-aa-nuku was the favoured star of our gardeners, with successful crops and effective gardening implements being dedicated to their patron star.
When dissected, Tupu, meaning ‘to grow’ and nuku, being ‘of Papatuuaanuku or Mother Earth’ when combined, the poetic translation of Tupu-aa-nuku, becomes ‘to grow in Mother Earth’, hence the affinity to mahi maara (gardening), sowing and harvesting in accordance with the tohu whetuu (star signs) and the rhythms of the Maramataka (lunar cycle).
Associated with fertility and bounty, Tupu-aa-nuku embodies femininity and nurturing, hence, is a daughter of Matariki. Generous in nature and vital in sustaining life. She is known as Pleione in Greek folklore, the wife of Atlas and mother to the stars of the Pleiades star cluster. The word, Pleiades, literally means ‘of Pleione’.