Signified by the cluster of stars reappearing in our night sky, Matariki marks the start of the Māori New Year and is a time to reflect on the past, celebrate the present, and plan for the year ahead. Recognised as a national public holiday that falls on Friday 14 July, people across Aotearoa have organised events and attractions to celebrate the season.
We’ve rounded up some cool things to do this long weekend, and if you find yourself travelling away from home to attend the festivities, our pals at booking.com have the perfect stays for families and friends alike!
Capsule x booking.com
Stardome Observatory is celebrating its long-awaited re-opening just in time for its annual Matariki show – Ngā Whetū o Te Tau Hou – The Stars of the New Year. From the comfort of your planetarium seat, you’ll embark on a journey to ngā whetū (the stars) and beyond to uncover the purākau (stories) and significance of the Māori New Year. Having sold out the previous three years, this year’s show is highly anticipated. Bookings are essential and tickets can be purchased here.
With the City of Sails being the most searched domestic holiday destination for winter holidays according to a booking.com survey, there is plenty to see and do over the long weekend. If you are travelling with your family or in a large group, Harbour View Cottage is homely and provides a quaint sanctuary from the hustle of Auckland. Offering self-contained accommodation, the cottage features a kitchenette and a patio with garden views. It is a short drive from the Stardome Observatory.
The stunning Bay of Islands returns with their annual three week Matariki celebration Matariki Pēwhairangi. There are a range of cultural shows for the whole family including kapa haka, dawn cruises, and story-telling. You can also fill your puku with delicious street kai by visiting the night markets. You can find out more about the Bay of Islands Matariki event schedule here.
Located in the heart of Paihia, Chalet Romantica offers guests a serene stay with rooms offering views of the ocean or the hills of Paihia. Guests can enjoy the heated indoor pool and hot tub during the colder weather that surrounds Matariki weekend, making it an awesome location to star-gaze. It is a top choice stay if Bay of Islands is your long-weekend getaway choice.
Matariki 2023 at Te Papa offers a variety of cultural events and evenings to the public that are free and open to all. Watch a kapa haka show, or performances by the Royal New Zealand Ballet, take your kids painting or attend a Wairoa Māori Film Festival screening.
Where contemporary art meets luxury and leisure, guests will revel in QT Wellington’s unique and eclectic ambiance. More than just visual indulgence, this hotel (a personal Capsule favourite!) is located in the heart of the city’s bustling streets, is a stone’s throw away from Te Papa museum and a walking distance from famous city landmarks.
If you’re heading down south this Matariki long weekend, you can experience a cultural light show in the heart of Arrowtown. Matariki Arrowtown Lights is a koha/gold coin donation event for all ages and will showcase a stunning display of visual storytelling and light projections displayed on Buckingham Street. New this year will be food stalls and fire pits to gather around with family and friends as you share stories over kai.
Millbrook Resort will ensure you and your crew get the best South Island experience during your stay. Located on 650 acres of beautiful countryside, its elegantly decorated suites and Resort Homes offer breathtaking views of the surrounding mountainscapes. It is a top choice for Kiwi travellers and is only a short drive or blissful walk to the Matariki Arrowtown Lights.
The Dunedin Puaka Matariki Festival is unique to Ōtepoti, marking the Māori New Year through a citywide programme of community events, celebrating the midwinter season of wānaka (learning) and whanaukataka (community spirit). There is plenty more to see and do during your visit in Dunedin, like learning about its Maori heritage at the Otago museum or capturing breathtaking scenery during a coastline driving audio tour around the Otago Peninsula.
Located in the heart of Dunedin, the Bed Hill Apartments is surrounded by the city’s charming characteristics with a breathtaking view of the First Church of Otago. This two bedroom apartment’s eclectic interior design is peppered with personal touches that will make you feel right at home.