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Bridge set to light up with sparkling iwi narrative

Published: 25 June 2019

Find a vantage point on Auckland’s inner harbour coastline and watch with wonder.

From 6pm on Thursday 27 June, Auckland Harbour Bridge will be the canvas for iwi story-telling in spell-binding light and sound.

This event is part of a smart energy partnership between Vector and Auckland Council and is also part of Elemental AKL.

You’ll see seven symbolic stars slowly appear on the apex of the bridge before an electric portrayal for Matariki Festival begins, designed by host iwi Waikato-Tainui.

Red waka sails glide across the bridge following a white bird symbolising Korotangi which was the talisman for Tainui navigators.

Ancient woven patterns grace the length of the bridge before a white rope moves from east to west depicting the historic Waikato-Tainui waka portage - all part of a vibrant narrative lighting up the bridge.

Historically Māori navigators were guided to Aotearoa by the stars, including Matariki (Pleiades), with crews using masterful wayfinding and voyaging techniques passed down through generations.

Vector Lights for Matariki Festival pays homage to that history.

Matariki Festival is brought to the region by Auckland Council in partnership with local mana whenua each winter celebrating the beginning of Māori new year.

Ten eight-minute shows will play every half-hour from 6pm to midnight on the bridge over the next three weekends, running from 27 to 30 June, 5 to 7 July and 12 to 14 July.

Visit to listen to the live-streamed soundtrack and get the full light and audio experience.

For times, dates and information go to

Councillor Alf Filipaina, Deputy Chair of the Environment and Community Committee, encourages all Aucklanders to get out and about to experience the festival this year.

“The Matariki Festival celebrates the Māori new year and our rich culture and history which makes our country unique. With over 100 events planned, all eyes are on Tāmaki Makaurau.

"Vector Lights for Matariki Festival is an event we can be proud of, bridging this modern city with our vibrant past and heritage.”

Festival Director Ataahua Papa of Auckland Council says: “More than 100 Matariki Festival activities and events across Tāmaki Makaurau remind us of the history and origins of the city while giving us all an opportunity to come together in celebration.

"This special time of year enables us to enrich the cultural fabric of Tāmaki Makaurau and bring to life the city we love.” 

Read more: Waitematā & Gulf


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