Matariki Festival Week One Highlights (15 - 21 June)

Publish Date : 24 May 2024
Photo: Tūrama returns to Queen Street as part of Matariki ki Te Manawa. Credit: Jay Farnworth / Auckland Council.

Te Kaunihera o Tāmaki Makaurau / Auckland Council and iwi partner Ngāti Tamaoho present Matariki Festival, from 15 – 30 June, 2024.

Matariki Festival will set the city of Tāmaki Makaurau alight with colour, large-scale light installations, community gatherings and an exploration of te ao Māori.

Here are 10 must-attend events from the festival’s first week, chosen from more than 90 events. Mānawatia a Matariki!

See the full festival line-up at

Matariki i te Maunga & Matariki i te Marae (15 June) is a pre-dawn ceremony led by Ngāti Tamaoho rōpū (group) Kura Waka on Pukekohekohe / Pukekohe Hill. Take part in karakia that fills the morning skies as we come together to acknowledge and celebrate Matariki. Join us at Ngā Hau e Whā o Pukekohe Marae as the celebrations continue with a pōwhiri, parakuihi (breakfast), kapa haka, and a feature performance from New Zealand Dance Company. Matariki i te Maunga begins at 5.30am at Pukekohekohe, followed by a pōwhiri at Ngā Hau e Whā o Pukekohe Marae from 8am.

Photo: Lissy and Rudi Robinson - Cole, creators of Taurima.

Photo: Lissy and Rudi Robinson - Cole, creators of Taurima.

Matariki ki te Manawa (June – September) is the city centre’s celebration of Matariki with incredible light installations, grand-scale public art and free performances on offer to celebrate Matariki. The hugely popular Tūrama by Graham Tipene (Ngāti Whātua Ōrākei, Ngāti Kahu, Ngāti Hine, Ngāti Hauā, Ngāti Manu) returns to light up Queen Street for another year, as does fluoro-neon light installation Taurima to celebrate Elliott Street’s history of kai, created by Lissy Robinson-Cole (Ngāti Kahu and Ngāti Hine) and Rudi Robinson-Cole (Waikato, Ngaruahine, Ngāti Pāoa, Te Arawa). Both artworks were created in collaboration with Ataahua Papa (Ngāti Koroki Kahukura, Ngāti Mahuta), Phil Wihongi (Ngāti Hine) and Angus Muir Design. Don’t miss the debut of Whai, a captivating new light-based artwork by Janine Williams (Ngāti Paoa, Te Uri o Hau) installed on the wall of the Victoria Street carpark building when it opens on 16 June, and feel the spirit of Matariki with He Wai, featuring contemporary Māori and Pasifika artists performing live music and waiata in Queen Street and Elliott Stables on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday evenings from 15 – 28 June. Proudly supported by Auckland Council and the City Centre Targeted Rate.

Te Taumata Rau (20 June) is a one-of-a-kind event celebrating the kaumātua of Ngāti Tamaoho and the Waiohua Confederated Tribes at a black-tie event held at the Auckland Botanic Gardens in Manurewa. Enjoy a star-themed menu, with accompanying kōrero from Māori artist and chef Natasha Keating, dance with the groovy Oystar Band, and enjoy a pop-up fashion show from Whiri Aroha and Raranga Whatu weavers! Limited event tickets to this special kaupapa are available from 6 June for senior members of the community.

Matariki Tuia Ngā Whetū, Tuia Ngā Tāngata (15 – 28 June) is a special exhibition of traditional and contemporary garments on display at the Huakaiwaka Visitors Centre at Auckland Botanic Gardens. Featuring the work of artists from Papakura-based weaving group Whiri Aroha and the national collective of weavers, Raranga Whatu, the free exhibition features prized representations of our ancestors and taonga woven from pīngao, kiekie, kākaho (the stem of toetoe) and muka flax. Matariki Tuia Ngā Whetū, Tuia Ngā Tāngata is on 15 – 28 June during the Auckland Botanic Garden’s opening hours. 

Photo: Fred Graham, Ngā Hine e Wi, 1984. Courtesy of Creative New Zealand. Photo by Sam Hartnett.

Photo: Fred Graham, Ngā Hine e Wi, 1984. Courtesy of Creative New Zealand. Photo by Sam Hartnett.

Fred Graham: Toi Whakaata / Reflections (8 June – 18 August) surveys the work of eminent sculptor Fred Graham (Ngāti Korokī Kahukura, Tainui) by bringing together a selection of his significant works produced between 1968 and 2013. The free exhibition maps the importance of storytelling in Graham’s work, at both a universal and interpersonal level. See it for yourself at Te Uru Waitakere Contemporary Gallery in Titirangi, 10am – 4pm, 8 June – 18 August.

Matariki - Ngā Whetū o te Tau Hou / The Stars of the New Year (14 May – 27 June) is your chance to learn more about the Matariki stars at Stardome. Following four years of sell-out runs, embark on a journey to ngā whetū (the stars) and beyond to uncover the pūrākau (stories) and significance of the Māori New Year.  Matariki – Ngā Whetū o te Tau Hou is perfect for those looking to celebrate Matariki, get an introduction to Māori astronomy and the Maramataka, and admire the beauty of our night sky. The show runs at selected times from 14 May – 27 June - be sure to book your spot at now!

Matariki Glow Worm Hīkoi (20 June) is a unique opportunity to join Annette Lees, a renowned outdoor and natural world enthusiast and author of After Dark: Walking into the Nights of Aotearoa, for a hīkoi and kōrero about titiwai (glow worm), also known as ‘the constellation of the caves’. Meet at the recently re-opened Arataki Visitors Centre to head on a free twilight walk along the Beveridge Track to Monkey Drive Tunnel, where the glow worms are abundant, at 7pm on Thursday 20 June, and check out Arataki Visitor Centre’s other Matariki events, including a special concert and a hautapu / food offering ceremony taking place at dawn!

Stories of Place Woven with the Stars (17 & 25 June) curates creativity with nature in a free workshop for kids (3–6 years) and caregivers. Join Auckland Council Parks and The Light Library to uncover stories of place and intertwine them with the brilliance of the Matariki whetū. Our adventure begins with a hīkoi through the park, to gather natural treasures to craft the nine whetū, weaving in layers of colour to reflect their story. On at Green Bay Park, 10am on 17 June, and Western Springs Park, 10am on 25 June.

Photo: Fred Graham, Ngā hine e wi, 1984. Courtesy of Creative New Zealand. Photo by Sam Hartnett.

Photo: Fred Graham, Ngā hine e wi, 1984. Courtesy of Creative New Zealand. Photo by Sam Hartnett.

Te Wā - A Moment In Time - Ngā Rangatahi Toa (20 June – 18 July) is a free, immersive exhibition honouring the rise of Puanga and Matariki, inviting manuhiri (visitors) to pause, reflect and connect with the essence of space in time. Through interactive installations, all are invited to explore dimensions of their tapa whā - physical and mental resilience, community connections and spiritual rituals, thus nurturing ancestral wisdom, identity, and collective healing during this significant phase of the Māori lunar calendar. On at Studio One Toi Tū from 20 June – 18 July.

Love Your Maunga ki Ōhuiarangi Community Planting Day (16 June) honours Papatūānuku (Earth Mother) this Matariki season with a day of native planting on Ōhuiarangi Pigeon Mountain in Half Moon Bay. Bring your spade and gardening gloves (if you have them), along with sunscreen, strong-covered shoes or boots, water and light refreshments, and dress prepared for wet-weather conditions! Numbers are limited, so register your interest today at

To find these events and more happening in your area, head to

Matariki tuia ngā whetū, tuia ngā tāngata

 (Matariki weaver of the stars, weaver of the people)

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