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Impressive Matariki Festival line-up to light up your winter

Published: 11 June 2018
  • Te Waka Huia, Matariki Festival. Photography by Monster Valley, courtesy of Auckland Council
  • Te Korakora on Federal, Matariki Festival. Photography by Monster Valley, courtesy of Auckland Council
  • Te Korakora on Federal, Matariki Festival. Photography by Serena Stevenson, courtesy of Auckland Council
  • Manu Aute Kite Day, Matariki Festival. Photography by Monster Valley, courtesy of Auckland Council
  • Manu Aute Kite Day, Matariki Festival. Photography by Richard Leonard, courtesy of Auckland Council

The star of Auckland’s winter season, the Matariki Festival, returns with an exciting line-up of more than 100 events region-wide from 30 June to 22 July; from an evocative dawn karakia, to captivating kapa haka, a street party, family kite-flying events, lighting shows and cultural events across Auckland. All in celebration of Matariki, the Māori New Year.

For an unforgettable experience, join host iwi Te Kawerau a Maki as they open the festival with a Dawn Karakia on Saturday 30 June at Arataki Visitor Centre; bless the new year with karanga, the sounds of ancient karakia, waiata and a haka composed specifically to mark the occasion.

Throughout Matariki Festival, prominent landmarks will Light Up Tāmaki in Matariki colours. Events across Auckland will spread the joy of light, such as the popular InMotion Matariki, Te Ara Rama Matariki Light Trail and the all-new Pou Rama in Aotea Square.

Joining them, from 6pm Sunday 1 July, Vector Lights on Auckland Harbour Bridge will shine in celebration of Matariki and festival iwi manaaki (host), Te Kawerau a Maki. The light show and accompanying soundtrack celebrates the story of their arrival in Tāmaki Makaurau and their role as kaitiaki over the Waitākere Ranges and the mighty kauri. The show will run from 6pm to midnight on Sunday 1 July and every Friday and Saturday through to the end of the festival. 

Festival favourite Manu Aute Kite Day celebrates the tradition of kite flying across Tāmaki Makaurau, with simultaneous events in Ōrākei, Puketāpapa and Manurewa. Marvel as the sky fills with kites of all shapes and sizes, symbolically connecting heaven and earth. Watch the professionals manoeuvre huge kites in the sky or have a go yourself and send your messages to the heavens.

This year Matariki on the Move tours Māori arts around Tāmaki Makaurau with two distinct performance series supported by Te Wānanga o Aotearoa; Waiata and Ngahau.

In Matariki on the Move: Waiata, four striking female vocalists - Annie Crummer, Betty-Anne Monga, Maisey Rika and Ria Hall - come together as Kāhui Whetū, a powerful quartet of vocal prowess, to celebrate Matariki. See the talent of the future perform at Matariki on the Move: Ngahau, featuring performing arts students from Te Wānanga o Aotearoa.

Don’t miss captivating performances highlighting the power of wahine at Te Taumata Kapa Haka - Wahine Toa on 14 July at ASB Waterfront Theatre, featuring top kapa haka Waihirere and Te Waka Huia.

Grab your friends after work on Friday 20 July and head to Te Korakora on Federal, an urban street party in collaboration with SKYCITY and powered by Huawei P20. Experience the vibrant sights, sounds and flavours of te ao Māori on Federal Street. Dance the night away under the Matariki stars while enjoying a stellar line-up of local music talent, including Ria Hall, Che Fu, Annie Crummer, Rob Ruha and the Witch Doctor, accompanied by some tasty Māori-inspired dishes from SKYCITY executive chefs.

Mayor Phil Goff is looking forward to the huge array of events in this year’s festival and the opportunity for Aucklanders to learn about Māori culture. 

“Matariki is the time we recognise the culture and traditions of this country’s tangata whenua, and this year we are proud to host the festival with Te Kawerau a Maki.

"Traditionally whānau would come together to celebrate the rising of Matariki that indicated the start of the Māori Year and its new beginnings, to reflect on the past and show respect for the land on which they lived.

"Matariki gives Aucklanders and visitors the opportunity to come together and hear from this year’s host iwi, Te Kawerau a Maki, their unique stories and traditions,” says Mayor Phil Goff.

Chief Executive of Te Wānanga o Aotearoa, Dr Jim Mather, is excited to continue to partner with Auckland Council and support Matariki Festival. 

“We’re excited to be Matariki Festival’s principal partner for the third year – it’s a great opportunity to showcase our talented Auckland-based performing arts students and the programmes we offer.”

A range of community events will also bring Aucklanders together to reflect on and celebrate our uniqueness in relation to the Matariki season. Some great new events this year include Matariki Gourmet Hāngi, where top-notch restaurants and their famous chefs try their hand at cooking in an earth oven, acclaimed te reo Māori theatre production He Kura E Huna Ana and the WAI.TAI and Kai collaboration of Māori world music and modern Māori kai at The New Zealand Maritime Museum.

Matariki Festival is proudly hosted by Auckland Council in partnership with iwi manaaki Te Kawerau a Maki with the help of Te Wānanga o Aotearoa and Vector Lights (principal partners), AMI Insurance (supporting partner), SKYCITY, Huawei P20 and Te Matatini Kapa Haka Aotearoa (supporters) and Mai FM (media partner).

For more information see matarikifestival.org.nz and follow us on Facebook and #matarikifestival. Pick up a programme from your local library, Auckland Council arts facility or participating event venue.