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Stellar line up for Matariki Festival 2017

Published: 7 June 2017

The stars aligned last night to reveal an impressive three-week programme of events for Auckland Council’s Matariki Festival 2017, Auckland’s premier mid-winter festival.   

The special event at Auckland’s Town Hall marked the transfer of the festival’s host iwi from Ngāti Paoa to Ngāti Manuhiri in 2017.

Under a starry night sky, mana whenua, festival partners and guests gathered to watch a preview of the spectacular outdoor light show, Whetū Marama, a collection of Māori patterns, starscapes and landscapes by the late storyteller Peter Gossage and daughters Star, Aroha and Ra.  Harnessing the power of digital technology and an original waiata, their captivating, award-winning art set Auckland’s historic town hall alight.  It will then light up each night from 10 to 16 June, during the first week of Matariki Festival 2017 which runs from 10 June – 2 July. 

This year’s festival opening weekend is filled with celebrations, starting with a Matariki Dawn Karakia on Saturday 10 June.  Aucklanders are warmly invited to join host iwi, Ngāti Manuhiri at Tāwharanui Regional Park to welcome in the Māori New Year.

As night rolls in, join the joyful parade of illuminated bikes, wheelchairs and skateboards on a magical journey along Auckland’s waterfront as Touch Compass Dance Company perform their in aerial dance-theatre “InMotion Matariki”.   

Send messages to your ancestors at Manu Aute Kite Day on Sunday 11 June, where kites will symbolically connect the realms of the heavens and earth.  Fly your own kite, or watch kites of all shapes and sizes dance in the sky above three focal points across Auckland; Ōrākei Marae, Manurewa’s Manu Tukutuku at Randwick Park or at Winstone Park in Puketāpapa (Mt Roskill).

A stunning start to Matariki.

Auckland Mayor, Phil Goff says Matariki is an important occasion that gives people the opportunity to discover and learn about our Māori culture and traditions.  

“Our Māori identity and Matariki Festival are unique to Aotearoa.  Matariki is a great time to reflect, look forward and connect with friends and whānau and celebrate our diverse community.”

Popular Te Korakora on Federal, in collaboration with SKYCITY, takes its place in the festival for the second year.  The Matariki-style street party will ignite and transform Auckland’s most popular central city street into a carnival of Māori inspired food and a spectacle of music and dance from talented Māori performers.  

Other highlights during the festival include; the performing arts tour Matariki on the Move, Matariki light shows ‘Stellar’ and ‘Te Ara Rama’ and a Kapa Haka extravaganza featuring performances from some of Aotearoa’s most successful kapa haka at The Cloud on Saturday 1 July.

Festival Director Ataahua Papa says the line-up for Matariki 2017 features a wide range of community and signature events that bring together traditional and modern Māori performing arts.

“This year’s festival is a fantastic fusion of fun, knowledge and family orientated activities.  Together with our host iwi Ngāti Manuhiri, we invite Aucklanders and visitors to embrace the Matariki Festival spirit and join the many Māori New Year celebrations.”

Principal partner Te Wānanga o Aotearoa is proud to support Auckland’s Matariki Festival for a second year.

Dr Jim Mather, Chief Executive of Te Wānanga o Aotearoa is delighted to continue their partnership with Auckland Council and grow their relationship through Auckland’s premier mid-winter festival, including a special showcase by their Auckland-based performing arts students.

“As New Zealand’s second largest education provider, and a Māori-led organisation grounded in Māori values, we welcome the opportunity to showcase our Performing Arts programmes.”

We invite Auckland’s young people, their whānau and the wider community to join in the celebrations of arts and culture.”

Find out more about the full programme at