Where To Celebrate Matariki: Your Guide To The Events Happening In Aotearoa This Long Weekend

Mānawatia a Matariki! This Friday marks the first time that Matariki is a public holiday in Aotearoa and there are plenty of amazing events taking place around the country to mark this special occasion. Tourism NZ have put together a comprehensive list of where to celebrate Matariki so you can witness the beginning of Te Mātahi o te tau – the Māori New Year – in style!


Bay of Islands Matariki Festival

Journey to the Bay of Islands this July to celebrate Matariki in one of Aotearoa’s most culturally significant regions. The Bay of Islands Matariki Festival will run from Friday, 2nd July – Sunday, 11th July, featuring over 20 free and ticketed events around the area, with local businesses jumping on board to offer speciality experiences for residents and visitors.

Tāmaki Makaurau/Auckland

Matariki Festival

The star of Auckland’s winter season, Matariki Festival returns with an exciting line-up of more than 80 events region-wide from 21 June to 16 July; from captivating kapa haka, to a street party featuring contemporary Māori musicians.

Enjoy kite-flying, delicious kai, lighting shows and cultural events across Auckland – many are free or low-cost. Highlights of the festival include:

  • Vector Lights on Auckland Harbour Bridge – This year for Vector lights and Matariki Festival are honoured with a story from iwi partners, Ngāti Whātua, and their Ahi kā in Tāmaki Makaurau. This light show has be specially curated and represents the Ahikāroa the long burning fires of occupation. For Ngāti Whātua this is an enduring relationship with the land across many centuries. Where people cultivate gardens, cook food, and build homes. Where people raise their children and grandchildren on the same lands. Where loved ones are ultimately laid to rest.  The show runs for 6 minutes and plays every half hour from 6pm until midnight.
  • Manu Aute Kite Day – Manu Aute Kite Day is developed and hosted by Matariki Festival partner Ngāti Whātua Ōrākei. This spectacular one-day event honours and celebrates the tradition of kite flying. Traditionally, manu aute (kites made from the aute plant), manu tukutuku (kites with long tails) and manu taratahi (kites with a single plume) were used to send messages to the heavens and between hapū (tribes). Communities are invited to watch and fly kites, and participate in other programmed activities. Kites of all shapes and sizes will be seen filling the skies!
  • The Tasting Room at Villa Maria: It’s a great opportunity for wine lovers, family and friends, locals and international visitors to take time out, gather over a glass of wine and connect on this special long weekend. It’s the chance to try something different whether you are looking for a first taste of a newly released vintage or exploring Villa Maria’s vast Aged Wine Cellar to discover their world-class selection of Library and special release wines, the choice is yours. Open from 10am – 4pm everyday.

Bay of Plenty

Matariki Tauranga Moana  
The Bay of Plenty is known for its plentiful produce. This year Matariki Tauranga Moana will celebrate all of the food above us, with the programme theme Tupuārangi: Heavenly Treasures.  Tupuārangi means ‘to grow in the sky’. He is the star within Te Kahui Matariki (the Matariki cluster) that has a strong connection to all of the birds that Maori traditionally harvested and ate throughout the year, and also the foods that grow above our heads like fruit and berries from the trees.

The 2022 celebrations aim to build understanding and enlightenment of te ao Māori, mātauranga Māori and te reo Māori. Matariki Tauranga Moana 2022 will see the city come alive with a programme of events including live performances, exhibitions, demonstrations, workshops, and family events.

Bay of Plenty & Rotorua

Matariki Dish Challenge

The stars will shine brightly on the culinary scene in Rotorua and the Bay of Plenty this winter with eateries across the cities encouraged to create a special Matariki-themed dish. The inaugural Matariki Dish Challenge and Matariki Food Trail will take place at participating cafés and restaurants from 13 June to 17 July. The dishes will be secretly judged, with a best dish winner and people’s choice winner announced in August. The Matariki Dish Challenge will provide a unique opportunity for the local hospitality sector to relay to their dining guests what Matariki means for Aotearoa New Zealand. Dishes will shine a light on the abundance of local produce and unique cultural stories.

Tamaki Māori Village presents TE PĀ TŪ – Rotorua

Share in the ihi – energy and passion – of Matariki, in a feast of culture and cuisine in an age-old Tawa Forest, blazing bonfires and forest formed amphitheatre.

Tū Te Ihi shares ancient concepts, performance, and rituals linked to the Matariki cluster of stars which are high and bright in winter skies – including the mystical Ahi Taitai (fire ceremony). Come together, share ideas, feast and reflect on the year passed, and contemplate the year ahead.

Seasonal kai horotai (delicacies) beneath the forest canopy, like roasted tuna (eel), creamy pāua ember warmed kumara and steaming boil up soup, lead to a lantern lit walk and lavish three course family share hākari. Hāngī is just one of the stars sharing the table with many more Māori delicacies, prepared fusion style.


Matariki Ki Waitomo

The Waitomo region is home to unforgettable sightseeing attractions including the famous Glowworm Caves. For the opening evening of the regions Matariki celebrations you can join a magical twilight cave tour. Be greeted with a traditional powhiri on arrival followed by kawakawa tea and a treat, before embarking on a one-of-kind tour through the glowworm caves at night. Learn about the Caves’ historical and geological significance along with cultural stories from the region.

Develop a deeper understanding of Maori rongoā (traditional medicine). This interactive workshop will be centred around the KawaKawa plant and explore the various internal application to assist in the reinstatement of wellness.

Have the full glowworm cave experience entirely spoken in Te Reo Māori, led by direct descendants of the cave’s original explorers. This is a must-do for all Te Reo speakers.

  • Kai | 24 June – 3 July | Waitomo Homestead

Enjoy a Matariki twist on Waitomo Homestead’s famous pies – feast on a hangi pie or boil-up pie, or try a special paua dish on the menu all week long.


Matariki Culturally Guided Whanganui River Journey

A brand-new culturally guided Whanganui River package has been designed to celebrate Matariki in a very special way canoeing and camping along the river. Join Owhango Adventures and lead cultural navigator Willie Huch as your local guide on Saturday 25th June as you paddle down the awa (river) learning about the cultural significance of the Whanganui River and local stories of Matariki. Learn to sing waiata (songs) beside the campfire and enjoy a jetboat out the following morning. This fantastic, all-inclusive package includes tents all set up waiting for you upon arrival, delicious food for the entire journey and a free hoodie. Children 5+ and older welcome. Spaces are limited so please contact Owhango Adventures to book ahead.


Matariki Ki Poneke Festival

Celebrate in Wellington at the Matariki ki Pōneke festival. The city will be hosting multiple events and experiences locally for Aotearoa’s first Māori New Year’s public holiday on 24th  June. There’ll be a fireworks display, projections and performances, waterfront braziers, whānau fun, installations and exhibitions. The night sky will be lit up to mark the occasion.  

  • Matariki ki Pōneke Festival by Wellington City Council, 24-26 June free on the waterfront
    • Ahi Kā – an interactive journey through fire, imagery & stories on Wellington waterfront. It includes projections and performances, including a multi-performer Drum Wave, food trucks family fun, exhibitions,
    • Fireworks on the waterfront, Friday 24 June
  • TEEKs with the NZ Symphony Orchestra perform each night from Friday 24 – 26 June (this will be amazing)
  • L.A.B perform at TSB Arena for a special Matariki weekend show, Friday 24 June
  • Māori-led art exhibitions at local galleries, including Matarau at City Gallery Wellington Te Whare Toi & Māori Moving Image ki Te Awakairangi (with a karaoke booth) at The Dowse Art Museum, plus family friendly activities and tours at Space Place (Carter Observatory) and a Zealandia star gazing tour (TBC)
  • Maoriland Film Festival / The Southern Hemisphere’s biggest indigenous film festival shares incredible stories from 80 nations around the globe. Typically held in March each year, this year, the festival will coincide with Matariki. Full programme to be announced.


Matariki Arrowtown Lights

Come celebrate the long weekend of Matariki in the deep south – with this three-day cultural festival. The story of the Māori heritage of Kā Muriwai (Arrowtown) will be retold in lighting and projections created by the South Island Light Orchestra (SILO) and weaved through Arrowtown’s iconic main street. 

Following a performance by waiata group, Waiatatia, watch the region’s Southern tamariki perform kapa haka kept warm by the spirit of tradition – Matariki has been celebrated here for several years. Learn about the significance of the Matariki stars and how our low population and position on the 45 South parallel enables us to see so much more in our clear dark skies using just your own binoculars or camera. Then wander down to Dorothy Brown’s luxurious boutique cinema for the Māori Film Festival or enjoy some warm southern hospitality in Arrowtown’s fine array of restaurants and bars.  

Matariki Celebration Dinner

Elsewhere in Otago it’s all about the kai. The Rees and Esk Valley’s Matariki Celebration Dinner is a nine-course dining experience matched to the nine stars of Matariki, paired with Esk Valley wines.


Tirama Mai

Tīrama Mai will brighten up Ōtautahi-Christchurch this winter with a range of innovative lighting installations and artworks on display throughout the central city. The lighting festival is free to attend and will be held from Friday 24 June to Sunday 3 July.

Christchurch City Council Events and Arts Manager Lucy Blackmore says this year’s event builds on the success of the inaugural Tīrama Mai held in 2021. “This year we have all new, never-seen-before lighting installations, illuminated artworks and immersive experiences,” says Ms Blackmore.

“The country’s best lighting artists and creative minds have been working hard to create these pieces in partnership with mana whenua.” The opening night of Tīrama Mai coincides with New Zealand’s first Matariki public holiday.


Mana Moana

A spectacular water and light show will herald the inaugural Matariki holiday in Dunedin 24‒26 June. Over three nights, Mana Moana: Ōtepoti will entertain and inspire, through a breath-taking and poignant cinematic experience on the Otago Harbour waterfront. The free Dunedin City Council-funded event will bring together the work of Māori and Pāsifikā artists through images, short film, poems, dance and more, all projected onto a water screen, creating the illusion of appearing out of thin air.

Mt Cook Lakeside Retreat, Mackenzie

Matariki Mackenzie Festival

Matariki Mackenzie offers a special place for Mana Whenua, community and manuhiri (visitors) to connect with whānau (family) and whenua (land) through culture, kai (food) and kōrero (conversation). For Matariki 2022, they’re offering a full three-day festival programme celebrating their local culture and community. Highlights include:

  • Friday 24 June – Matariki Dawn and Breakfast

Our 2022 programme starts with a breakfast and stargazing to celebrate the rising of Matariki on Friday 24 June. View the Matariki constellation through binoculars and trace the outline of Te Waka O Rangi from Matariki at the prow through to Tautoru on the stern. Dine on one some of our chefs delicious breakfast creations.

  • Friday 24 June – Dark Skies: Full of Enlightenment (Public Talk)

Dark Skies: Full of Enlightenment features three exciting speakers who will cover a range of topics that celebrate and recognise the importance of good lighting and dark night skies.

2022 New Zealander of the Year and one of the most influential tribal members in Ngāi Tahu’s modern history, Tā Tīpene O’Regan will discuss the cultural significance and traditions of nomenclature, its application, practise and contribution to the continuity of cultural heritage.

Johannes Fischer of the Department of Conservation will share findings from his research on the effects of light pollution on Kuaka (Little Diving Petrels) based on Whenua Hou, off the West Coast of Rakiura (Stewart Island).

Dr Michele Bannister of the University of Canterbury will talk about the exciting work that is happening at Ōtehiwai (Mount John), from planetary defence from hazardous asteroids to understanding the hearts of stars.

Lake Wānaka

Fireworks and hāngī

Tuck into a freshly cooked hāngī as you listen to live bands and watch the stars that signal the dawning of the Māori New Year sparkle high above snowy mountain-hugged Lake Wānaka.

The Central Otago town’s winter New Year celebrations are as magic as its summer ones, typically attracting hundreds to Dinosaur Park. The huge communal hāngī, which you can help yourself to for a koha (donation), the Kahu Youth event on Saturday.

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