Matariki marks the start of the Maori New Year and it kicks off on June 15. This year, there are more than 100 events throughout Auckland, and everyone’s invited! It incorporates the lunar phases that will see a seven star cluster rise throughout the month.
A time to spend with friends and whanau, Matariki is your chance to get out and about in Auckland.
If you’re thinking of heading along to the festivities but have no idea where to start, don’t fret because we’ve compiled a list of what you need to see and do this Matariki.
Light Up Tamaki
During the month of Matariki, many prominent buildings all over Tamaki Makaurau will light up in traditional colours to celebrate the festival season. The Museum, Manukau Civic Building and Sky Tower are just some of the many buildings that will be lit up over Matariki season. Wrap up warm and make a trip to see one of the colourful buildings.
When: 30 June–22 July
Where: Various locations
Matariki at Owairaka Domain Art Installations
To celebrate Matariki, numerous schools from Mt Albert were challenged to design and create art installations. The artworks are Matariki themed and made using only recycled and repurposed objects. View the final creative works at Owairaka Domain.
When: Saturday 30 June–Sunday 8 July, 10am–6pm
Where: Owairaka Domain, 27 Summit Road, Mt Albert
Te Mara o te Po – The Night Garden
Experience Matariki as a garden where light and sound come out to play! Te Mara o te Po – The Night Garden is also a concert, featuring performances from the likes of the Sandy Mill Band. Experience this in a unique environment at Held at the Titirangi Theatre, this is one not to miss!
When: Saturday 30 June & Saturday 21 July
Where: Titirangi Theatre, Lopdell Precinct, 418 Titirangi Road, Titirangi
Te Kawerau a Maki
Our pretty bright pink path in the centre of Auckland is set to tell special Matariki story this festival season. Head to Te Ara I Whiti—The Lightpath—to see Te Kawerau a Maki, a story about the arrival of the waka into Auckland from the south as well as more recent stories unfold through the lights as you walk along the path.
When: 30 June–22 July
Where: Te Ara I Whiti–The Lightpath Cycleway, Auckland CBD
The Vector Lights Project At Auckland Harbour Bridge
The Auckland Harbour Bridge has been lit up numerous times throughout the year, making it the perfect excuse to go down to Westhaven Marina or Northcote Point for a picnic and a show. This Matariki Te Kawerau a Maki is collaborating with the Vector Lights Project to tell the story of their ancestor, Maki, who migrated from Taranaki to Auckland. If you’re brave enough to leave your bed and venture out into the cold, grab a blanket (or two) and drive down to one of the prime spots to see the Auckland Harbour Bridge light up.
When: Sunday 1 July, Friday 6 July, Saturday 7 July, Friday 13 July, Saturday 14 July, Friday 20 July and Saturday 21 July, 6pm–midnight
Where: Auckland Harbour Bridge
Matariki On The Waterfront
Celebrate Matariki at Silo Park. For three days only, there will be music, workshops, games and kai. Puna Kai food trucks will be serving up street food with a Maori twist. The vendors may be altering an existing menu item or creating something new with an ingredient traditionally found in Maori cuisine (you’ll have to go to find out!). Make sure to look out for dishes cooked with KawaKawa, Manuka honey and lots of kai moana picked straight from our ocean!
When: Friday 20 July, 5pm–10pm, Saturday 21 July, 12pm–8pm & Sunday 22 July, 12pm–5pm.
Where: Silo Park, Wynard Quarter.
Manu Aute Kite Day
Manu Aute Kite Day is the perfect Matariki for a family day out. The Kite Day celebrates the universal tradition of kite flying across Tamaki Makaurau, with events happening simultaneously in Orakei, Puketapapa (Mt Roskill) and Manurewa. Watch as the skies fill with kites of all shapes and sizes. Manu Aute Kite Day is a time to celebrate the dead and new life as the kite flying symbolises a connection between heaven and earth.
When: Sunday 8 July, 10am–4pm
Where: Various locations
Stellar At Smales Farm
The amazing light show Stellar returns for its fourth year at Smales Farm! Immerse yourself in an abundance of colourful light installations which celebrate the rising Matariki and signify the start of the Maori New Year. Not only will there be light installations, there will also be cultural workshops, performances and activities for everybody to enjoy. There will also be a selection of food for you to munch on as you wander around. Puna Kai will bring together some of Auckland’s street vendors, all of which will serve traditional street food with a unique Maori twist in honour of Matariki. Stellar is on for one weekend only, so make sure to put it on your Matariki to do list!
When: Friday 13 July, 5pm–10pm, Saturday 14 July, 5pm–10pm & Sunday 15 July, 5pm–10pm
Where: Smales Farm, 72 Taharoto Road, Takapuna
Forest Has The Blues
If you’re up for a unique experience this Matariki, make your way to Devonport. Forest has the Blues is an installation project, bringing the unique plant life of Aotearoa into the gallery space where nine printmakers have collaborated to create a large-scale urban forest. Alongside the installation is a miniature forest (how cute!) of small native trees for locals to take home, encouraging better backyard biodiversity. This exhibition draws attention to the native forest presence in our urban areas.
When: Saturday 14 July–Wednesday 25 July
Mondays 12pm–4.30pm, Tuesdays–Saturdays 10am–4.30pm & Sundays 11am–3pm
Where: Depot Artspace, 28 Clarence Street, Devonport
Te Ara Rama Matariki Light Trail
One of the most popular Matariki events is back for its sixth year. Te Ara Rama Matariki Light Trail takes you on a journey along a flax lined pathway among thousands of twinkling fairy lights (how pretty!). The light trail starts at Te Oro Music Centre which will have nightly performances from local performers such as kapa haka groups, hip hop dancers, cultural performers, singers and bands. The final day of the light trail will include a community concert and a firework display at 9.15pm. Make sure you start looking for your mittens and beanies now because this event is not one to miss!
When: Saturday 14 July–Saturday 21 July
Every night 6pm–9pm
Where: Te Oro, 98 Line Road, Glen Innes
After a session on the ice at Aotea Square Ice Rink, make sure you wander over to the Maori designed Pou Rama (light posts) as they illuminate the grass terrace. Designed by Storybox, in collaboration with visual artist Desna Whaanga-Schollum, Pou Rama features a series of free-standing light structures. The dazzling light structures are spread throughout the terrace, allowing you to wander through and get up close and personal to see the designs which express the cycles of creativity and connections to place.
When: Saturday 30 June–Sunday 22 July. Lit from 5pm nightly
Where: Aotea Square, 50 Queen Street, Auckland CBD