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IELTS Reading Passage ‘Matariki’ – Headings Style Questions

IELTS Reading Passage ‘Matariki’ – Headings Style Questions

Headings style questions are common in the IELTS reading test.  For this type of question, you are given a list of headings and are asked to match the heading to the correct paragraphs or sections of the reading passage.

There will always be more headings than there are paragraphs or sections, so some headings will not be used. Note also that some paragraphs or sections may not be included in the task.


Choose the correct heading (i-viii) for paragraphs A, B, C, D and E in the passage. Use each heading only once.

  1. Traditional cultural celebrations
  2. The South Pacific
  3. Astronomical significance
  4. Māori language
  5. International interpretations
  6. Contemporary significance
  7. Environmental relevance
  8. Misinterpretations


A. Matariki, also known as the Māori New Year in New Zealand, holds significant cultural and astronomical importance as well as in different countries across the world. Traditionally celebrated by various indigenous peoples of the Pacific, Matariki marks the beginning of a new phase in the annual calendar, characterised by the appearance of the star cluster in the early morning sky. In Greek, and widely used in English-speaking countries, it is called Pleiades. In Japan, it is called Subaru, which means ‘to come together’. In China it is Mao, the hairy head of the white tiger, and in India it is known as Krittika.

B. The word “Matariki” translates to “eyes of god” or “little eyes” in the Māori language, symbolising the eyes of stars watching over the land. The appearance of Matariki in the pre-dawn sky during late May to early June signals the start of the Māori New Year. Traditionally, the visibility of Matariki is seen as an auspicious time for planting crops and celebrating the harvest season. To locate Matariki in New Zealand, look north-east toward the horizon, before sunrise. Look to the Southern Cross, or Te Punga. From there, look east and you can see the constellation Tautoru, or Orion’s Belt – often referred to as The Pot. Next, trace a line northwards from the three stars of Tautoru to a triangular-shaped cluster of stars and you will have found Hyades, or Te Kokotā. Look towards the left again, and just off the shoulder of Te Kokotā is Matariki.

C. Matariki is a time for communities to come together in celebration and reflection. Traditional rituals in Māori culture include the lighting of fires, feasting on local foods, and performing ceremonial dances and songs. It is also a period for storytelling, passing down knowledge, and acknowledging the interconnectedness of all living beings with the natural world.

D. Beyond its cultural and astronomical importance, Matariki also holds deep ecological and conservational import. The timing of the Māori New Year aligns with the southern hemisphere’s winter solstice, marking the shortest day and longest night of the year. This celestial event underscores the seasonal changes crucial for agriculture and marine life, guiding traditional practices of planting, fishing, and harvesting among Māori communities. It highlights the interconnectedness between celestial movements and terrestrial cycles, emphasising the sustainable management of natural resources.

E. In New Zealand, Matariki has evolved into a time not only for cultural celebration but also for reflection and renewal. It prompts individuals and communities to reflect on the past year, set goals for the future, and strengthen bonds with family and community. Matariki was officially introduced as a public holiday in 2022. Schools incorporate Matariki into their curricula, teaching students about Māori traditions, celestial navigation, and the ecological significance of seasonal changes. This educational emphasis fosters a deeper understanding and appreciation of indigenous knowledge and practices, contributing to greater cultural awareness and cohesion in New Zealand society. Many urban areas now host public events such as art exhibitions, concerts, and educational workshops to celebrate Matariki. This resurgence reflects a growing recognition of the significance of indigenous knowledge and the importance of cultural identity in modern society.




A – (v)

B – (iii)

C – (i)

D – (vii)

E – (vi)

How did you do?


Tips for headings style questions

Here are some tips to help you tackle headings style questions.

Read through the headings first and underline or highlight key words.

Be aware that synonyms of the key words are often found in the text, not the exact words, so think about the meaning of the keywords and any words that might have the same (or opposite) meaning.

Identify what the main subject of each paragraph is. You might look for topic sentences in each paragraph. Use you skimming skills! (do not try to read the paragraphs word for word). It’s important to note the difference between the main ideas of a paragraph and what is just extra information.

Try to match the key words in headings to the key words in topic sentences. Remember that the exact words may not be used, so look for synonyms!

Your answers will be the numeral (for example (i) or (iv)) don’t write the headings titles themselves in your answers.

Remember you can use each heading only once.

Also remember if you are not sure of an answer take a guess as you are not penalised for wrong answers.

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IELTS Reading Passage Matariki Headings Style Questions

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