Lighting up for Matariki

Last Updated : 27 Jun 2022
Turama Te Wehenga (1)

Mānawatia a Matariki! Celebrate Matariki.

Matariki sparkles above us at this time of the year. But it isn’t the only thing that is sparkling for us. There are plenty of light shows or displays that we can enjoy but also encourage us to look up.

While Matariki can be seen from almost anywhere, there is something special about getting up early for a special and unique experience. Wrap up warm, pack a thermos or grab a coffee on the way and head to one of the five stellar spots where you can view Matariki. Being in the eastern side of Tāmaki Makaurau, these spots have a unimpeded view as Matariki appears low on the horizon.

At the other end of the day, head to the waterfront in the central city. There is plenty to do during Matariki Festival.

Start with watched the Vector Lights for Matariki Festival. The stunning light show on the Auckland Harbour Bridge, with accompanying music, will be on every night of the first week (Tuesday 21 June to Sunday 26 June), before returning on the first two weekends of July (Friday 1 July – Saturday 2 July and Friday 8 July – Saturday 9 July). Use your phone to tune into the music via the Vector Lights website.

While in the city centre be sure to check out Te Tomokanga ki te Pō (The Gateway to the Night) at Silo Park. Part of Matariki ki te Manawa (from 21 June to 16 July), this majestic neon waharoa (gateway) standing 26 feet high has been designed by Graham Tipene (Ngāti Whātua, Ngāti Kahu, Ngāti Hine, Ngāti Haua, Ngāti Manu) and Angus Muir Design and will delight all.  

Walk down to Te Komititanga at the bottom of Queen Street to take in the spectacular Pakiata Matariki. The main attraction of Matariki ki te Manawa, this is a projected light show that will illuminate the entire front of the Chief Post Office. The show will take audiences on a journey of how Matariki emerged in the sky after the separation of Ranginui (Sky Father) and Papatūānuku (Earth Mother) angered Tāwhirimātea, the God of winds before showcasing the ahikāroa (burning fires of settlement) of Ngāti Whātua Ōrākei. This show will wow and amaze everyone and is not to be missed.

Complete the illumination tour of central Auckland with a wander up Queen Street to take in Tūrama. Enjoy the beautiful neon light installations including Te Wehenga – a contemporary waharoa (entranceway) located at a point on Queen Street that was the original coastline, Horitiu on the front of the Auckland Town Hall and the three manu (birds) of Kawau Tikitiki (cormorant), Kāhu Kōrako (older harrier hawk) and Manu Korokī.

For something different, head to the Stardome Observatory and Planetarium for Matariki Lights at Stardome. On until 25 June, this is an immersive light and sound installation will illuminate the meaning of Matariki in a free nightly show. Incorporating nine moving pillars of light with the sound of taonga pūoro (traditional Māori musical instruments) wafting across the whenua.

Matariki Festival has plenty more to enjoy with tamariki, whānau or friends. Head to the Matariki Festival website to find your 2022 Matariki journey.

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