The Matariki Festival celebrates the Maori new year and is full of exciting, cultural festivities that everyone is invited to get involved with. Auckland city comes alive with the celebrations of the nation’s Maori identity, the Maori new year and new beginnings.
Historically, Maori navigators were guided to New Zealand by the stars including Matariki, with crews using skilful voyaging techniques passed down through generations. These themes are woven throughout the festival. The festival has over 100 events and programmes where you can experience Maori stories, entertainment and art.
If you're thinking of heading along to the festivities but don’t know where to start, we've got you covered with this list of must-sees.
Make Your Own Balm
Ever wondered about our native flora? This in-depth workshop is on Rongoa rakau—traditional Maori plant medicine. Come and learn about native plants and their medicinal benefits, taste-test a remedy and make your own balm. Emma Haslam will lead you and share her extensive knowledge in the arts of karakia, Maori bodywork and plant medicines.
When: Saturday 22 June
Where: EcoMatters Environment Trust, New Lynn
Feast On A Hangi
If you have never enjoyed a Hangi this is your chance, The Maori Kitchen is digging up Britomart’s Takuati Square to put on a feast. The kai cooked in the ground is full of flavour and the cooking technique involved is truly unique. There'll be music, great food and drinks, and an all-round good vibe. Get involved.
When: 25-30 June
Where: Takutai Square, Britomart
See The Stars Up Close And Personal
Enjoy a tour of the Matariki night sky from the comfort of your reclining seat at Auckland's epic Stardome Observatory. Hear stories about how the stars are connected and get up close and initmate with the breath-taking constellation currently inching its way across our skies this June.
When: 22, 23, 29 & 30 June
Where: Stardome Observatory
Marvel At Some Rimu Art
Transforming rimu floorboards into beautiful works of art is what artist Natasha Keating does, and it's pretty incredible. Celebrating woman’s strength and resilience, Keating’s work is about empowering Wahine to overcome and survive change and struggle, connecting history and tradition to a new way of teaching.
When: 27 June- 13 July
Where: Te Oro
Prepare To Work Up A Sweat
Want to push yourself mentally and physically? Through performing arts, martial arts, Maori weaponry and choreography you can learn how to enhance your physical and emotional health. You will need curiosity, perseverance, stamina and an open mind for this workshop-style class, presented by the Turongo collective.
When: Sunday 30th June
Where: Ellen Melville Centre
Cost: $28 per person
Get Your Kai On
Food is one of the best ways to celebrate and Devonport’s restaurants think so too. A range of local spots will be serving up delicious Matariki inspired kai using native New Zealand flavours and ingredients. Expect wild pork, manuka-smoked hapuka and smoked eel. Check here for the line-up.
When: 1-7 July
Where: Selected Devonport restaurants
Wander The Market
Markets are a favourite activity for Aucklanders and this Matariki inspired one is definitely worth heading along to. Full of arts, craft and musical performances, browse the beautiful treasures and pick up some special items. Karana Ink will also be there offering Matariki inspired one-off tattoos.
When: Thursday 4 July
Where: George Courts, Karangahape Rd
Come Together And Bring Your Wheels
Join Touch Compass on a magical illuminated parade through the urban maze of Wynyard Quarter. Bring your bike, scooter, wheelchair or unicycle, decorate the wheels and get amongst the full sensory experience. Following the parade there'll be a presentation of Touch Compass’s new aerial spectacle Te Ranga Ika.
When: Saturday 6 July
Where: Silo Park
See The Stars From a Waka
Take the special opportunity to experience the stars of the Matariki cluster from a different perspective, aboard a waka hourua. Out on the waters of the Waitemata, you'll sail into the dark and study the stars under the guidance of a navigation expert.
When: 24-28 June, 1-14 July
Where: Waitemata Harbour, departing from Orakei Marina
Cost: Free but bookings are essential
Get Carried Away
Experience the beautiful, soulful voices of two exceptional artists Sherydon Ngaroro Te Tai and Ed Waaka. Sharing their music surrounded by the majestic Waitakere Ranges, the performances will be a memorable end to Matariki celebrations. You will be drawn into a world of nostalgia through each song, all that are consciously direct and spiritually uplifting.
When: Sunday 13 July
Where: Arataki Visitor Centre
Cost: $15 per person
Can't get enough? Click here for the full Matariki Festival timetable.
Image Credit: Supplied