Maungarongo ‘Ron’ Te Kawa’s Heavenly Bodies centres on nine quilts. Each represents one of the nine whetū of the Matariki star cluster, which are often personified as a whaea, Matariki, and her eight tamariki: Pōhutukawa, Tupuānuku, Tupuārangi, Waitī, Waitā, Waipunarangi, Ururangi, and Hiwa-i-te-rangi.
As Te Papa Tongarewa notes, Matariki signifies reflection, hope, our connection to the environment, and the gathering of people. She is also tied to the health and wellbeing of people. Pōhutukawa is associated with those who have passed on. Tupuānuku connects with everything that grows within the soil to be harvested or gathered for food. Tupuārangi connects with everything that grows up in the trees: fruits, berries, and birds. Waitī is associated with all freshwater bodies and the food sources that are sustained by those waters. Waitā is associated with the ocean, and food sources within it. Waipunarangi connects with the rain. Ururangi connects with the winds. Hiwa-i-te-rangi is the star associated with granting our wishes, and realising our aspirations for the coming year.