Matariki ki te Manawa delights and enlightens city centre: 20-day DIARY

Last Updated : 18 Jun 2024
Snip Of Turama Kahu

A city centre with the most visibility of te ao Māori in its streetscapes in the world, Tāmaki Makaurau is on the cusp of the biggest city centre celebration of Matariki ever seen.

Matariki ki te Manawa (at the heart) brings you this 20-day diary of wonder and wānanga (learning), proudly delivered by Auckland Council and supported by the city centre targeted rate as part of Matariki Festival.

In the first ten days choose from: an immersive experience of the night sky; soaring lighting installations telling the stories of our place; contemporary art to honour traditional Māori string games we can all play at home; the music of Matariki performed live in our city streets; reflections through kōrero; and even toasted marshmallows ushering in the switch-on of Vector Lights on the harbour bridge this Matariki season.      

In the second ten days: activate your fingers in weaving workshops; see Karangahape Road closed off to traffic for streetside Matariki celebration Karanga-a-Hape; witness projections of the names of your loved ones on the walls of the Town Hall; and see the Matariki star cluster rising above the horizon in the north-east skies at dawn from your favourite vantage point (expected to be visible by 29 June.)       

We’ve created a 20-day diary below, and here are our top ten highlights:

Tūrama Manu Korokī, Queen Street

Tūrama Manu Korokī, Queen Street

Manu (birds), moana (sea), whenua (land) cloak Queen St in light

Tūrama, the popular series of large-scale illuminated art installations returns to light up Queen Street from Sunday 9 June to Sunday 4 August, helping you rediscover the Waihorotiu valley. You'll be able to imagine how it looked and felt in centuries past.

Tūrama is a creative collaboration between talented artists Graham Tipene (Ngāti Whātua Ōrākei, Ngāti Kahu, Ngāti Hine, Ngāti Hauā, Ngāti Manu), Ataahua Papa (Ngāti Korokī Kahukura, Ngāti Mahuta) and Angus Muir Design with Auckland Council city centre place activation principal Barbara Holloway.

Ngāti Whātua Ōrākei and Te Kaunihera o Tāmaki Makaurau (Auckland Council) are proud to bring Tūrama to the city centre, supported by the city centre targeted rate, for all Aucklanders to enjoy. Learn more in a video with the artist here.

Taurima, Elliott Street.

Taurima, Elliott Street.

Fluoro-neon art set to pique your appetite in historic eat street

Taurima, a series of crochet-inspired neon artworks will float above Elliott Street from 12 June to 7 August in a return, by popular demand, to the city centre for Matariki ki te Manawa.

Aucklanders and visitors will see pātaka kai (food) storehouse symbolism suspended above the street in quirky fluoro-neon art created by Lissy Robinson-Cole (Ngāti Kahu and Ngāti Hine), Rudi Robinson-Cole (Waikato, Ngaruahine, Ngāti Pāoa, Te Arawa), Ataahua Papa (Ngāti Korokī Kahukura, Ngāti Mahuta), and Angus Muir Design. 

Traditional Māori string game inspires 9-metre artwork 

Whai a new captivating light-based artwork by artist Janine Williams (Ngāti Paoa, Te Uri o Hau) has been inspired by the traditional Māori string game. Whai symbolises the merging of ancient wisdom and modern innovation. Through its intricate design, it reconnects us with ancestral narratives, acting as both a tool for learning and a source of entertainment.

The artist explains that Whai serves as a universal language, bridging cultures and fostering a sense of community, a testament to the enduring legacy of Māori culture, ensuring that our traditions remain vibrant for generations to come. Whai is live from Sunday 16 June to Saturday 21 September. Best viewing point is from 23 to 33 Victoria Street East.

Allanna Goldsmith performs in Queen Street at He Wai.

Allanna Goldsmith performs in Queen Street at He Wai.

Streetside music set to pause the hustle and bustle of the city 

Allanna Goldsmith is among the music talent featuring in newly created pop-up performance series called He Wai. Within the two weeks of Matariki Festival, enjoy selected evenings in midtown as contemporary Māori artists thrill audiences with live music and waiata in Queen Street and Elliott Street.

Performances promise to pause the city centre hustle and bustle for a moment of celebration as part of Matariki ki te Manawa. Times / dates for Queen Street performances are here.

Mātahi, waka in Smith and Caughey’s window.

Mātahi, waka in Smith and Caughey’s window.

Waka reminds us of historic waterway beneath our feet

Witness Mātahi, enshrouded in brilliant blue light, in the window of Smith and Caughey’s store in Queen Street from 15 June to 1 July.

In a contemporary portrayal of Te Waka o Rangi, the vessel glides the upper realms each Matariki season collecting the wairua (spirit) of those who have passed in the previous year and carrying them up to Matariki where they become stars – te hunga kua whetūrangitia. 

This waka is also a symbol of place reminding us of the history beneath our feet. Hundreds of years ago, many kinds of waka would carry people and food stores along the legendary Waihorotiu waterway. 

Hear the voices of Auckland in authentic, meandering walk  

Take a meandering hīkoi through the streets of midtown from 13 June. Let Me Tell You About Auckland springs from the many voices of the Hobson Street Theatre Company.

Taking their inspiration from Te Waihorotiu, this show brings stories to the surface – some true, some may be not – about the city from some of the people that know it best. Written by the company in collaboration with renowned writer and theatre maker Anders Falstie-Jensen, this is a show to get your body moving and your mind wondering.

Wheelchair accessible, and for all ages. Click here for times and dates.

Immersive cube reflects night sky at Viaduct’s Market Square

Viaduct Harbour is giving Aucklanders and visitors an immersive experience entitled Puanga. Conceived by London-based Māori creative director Tuhirangi Blair (Ngāti Whātua, Ngāi Tūhoe, Ngāti Awa) in collaboration with local installation artist Angus Muir and located in the precinct’s Market Square, Puanga will be accessible for the public to experience from 14 to 30 June; 6am to 10pm. 

The cube structure by Angus Muir creates a kaleidoscope of reflections. Brought to life by sound, this experience places the viewer in the centre of the night sky in a reflective universe. The exterior catches refractions of coloured light. Learn more here.

Vector Lights lightshow portrays burning fires of home.

Vector Lights lightshow portrays burning fires of home.

Vector Lights lightshow portrays burning fires of home  

Aucklanders gathering along the shores of the Waitematā will see Vector Lights bring imagery of fire and light to the Auckland Harbour Bridge every Friday and Saturday from 6pm until midnight from 14 until 29 June.

Vector Lights for Matariki tells the story of Ngāti Whātua Ōrākei through changing patterns and symbols, capturing the theme ahi kā roa (burning fires). The lightshow portrays an enduring relationship with the land spanning hundreds of years; land where people cultivated gardens, cooked food, and built homes, where they raised their children and grandchildren and where loved ones were laid to rest.

This dazzling show runs for five minutes and plays every 15 minutes. Head to and listen live to the soundtrack from your favourite viewing spot. Powered by a mix of clean energy technology, including solar, battery and peer-to-peer systems, Vector Lights will illuminate the Waitematā to celebrate Matariki.

Vector Lights has partnered with Eke Panuku and Ngāti Whātua Ōrākei to host a switch-on event at Silo Park from 3.30pm to 7.30pm on Saturday 15 June, with a live performance by Majic Pāora (Ngāti Whātua Ōrākei) accompanying the opening show at 6pm. It’s a whānau-friendly celebration with live music, fire pits for toasting marshmallows, DJs and complimentary hot chocolates available for a limited time. Gather around the fires to share in this special time of year with those you love and those around you at Silo Park.

Tūrama Kaitiaki, Aotea Square.

Tūrama Kaitiaki, Aotea Square.

Aotea Square arts quarter hosts wānanga and waiata

Waiata Anthems and video artwork from Circuit NZ’s Toi Māori artists across Aotearoa will take over the Auckland Live Digital Stage on various weekends in June from 11am – 4pm, before Tūrama Kaitiaki lights up one side of Aotea Square’s grass terraces and the much-loved artwork Waharoa lights up the other, acknowledging the mahi and life of celebrated artist the late Selwyn Muru.

Another key element of Matariki is wānanga (learning) and sharing knowledge. Enjoy a free public seminar, Our People, Our Stories, thanks to Auckland Live on Sunday 16 June 2-5pm in the Wintergarden of The Civic, with speakers Tamati Patuwai, Ani-Piki Tuari, Janaye Henry and Amber Curreen, facilitated by Rutene Spooner weaving communities and performing arts. 

Acknowledge your loved ones through projection artwork Mihi

First presented in Pōneke (Wellington) by artists, Claire O’Loughlin and Marcus McShane, this is a must-see activation presented in Tāmaki Makaurau by Auckland Live.

Mihi is a large-scale interactive video installation that invites us to pause, remember, and celebrate each other this Matariki. Mihi allows you to thank those who are important to you by adding their name to a huge, animated scroll projected onto Auckland Town Hall, rising endlessly up into the sky.

It’s a beautiful, simple and effective work. Mihi will shine from Friday 28 June - Sunday 30 June, 6pm – 10pm. Full Auckland Live programme to be announced Thursday 6 June for more information visit

20-day diary – experience Matariki at the heart

Note – most of these activities span multiple days and some will be live until September. 

DAY 1 – Tues 11 June – Tūrama

DAY 2 – Wed 12 June – Taurima

DAY 3 – Thur 13 June – Let Me Tell You About Auckland walking tours begin

DAY 4 – Fri 14 June – Puanga

DAY 5 – Sat 15 June – Silo Park Vector Lights Switch-On

DAY 6 – Sun 16 June – Wānanga at The Civic Theatre’s Wintergarden

DAY 7 – Mon 17 June – Whai

DAY 8 – Tues 18 June – Whai weaving workshop

DAY 9 – Wed 19 June – Matahi

DAY 10 – Thur 20 June – He Wai in Queen Street

DAY 11 – Fri 21 June – He Wai in Elliott Street

DAY 12 – Sat 22 June – Kapa haka, weaving, rongoā in Central City Library

DAY 13 – Sun 23 June - The Auckland Live digital stage in Aotea Square hosts waiata

DAY 14 – Mon 24 June – Aotea Square – the late Selwyn Muru’s Waharoa lights up

DAY 15 – Tues 25 June - Whai weaving workshop

DAY 16 – Wed 26 June – Britomart lunchtime activities for Matariki

Day 17 – Thur 27 June – Te Karanga a Hape in Karangahape Road

Day 18 – Fri 28 June – He Wai - Queen and Elliott Streets

Day 19 – Sat 29 June – Matariki stars are visible (watch at dawn) + second Silo Park event

Day 20 – Sun 30 June – Mihi will projected onto the Auckland Town Hall

See the full festival line-up at Auckland Council and iwi partner Ngāti Tamaoho have announced the line-up of events for Matariki Festival 2024, 15 - 30 June.

Visit the Matariki ki te Manawa landing page here.

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