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A Huge Program Has Been Announced for Matariki Festival 2019

Mark the arrival of Māori New Year with a massive street party, gourmet hāngi and an illuminated parade.
By Stephen Heard
June 11, 2019
By Stephen Heard
June 11, 2019

In Māori culture the dawn of a new year aligns with the rise of the Pleiades constellation — otherwise known as Matariki. Appearing late May through June, the constellation was once used for navigation and timing the seasons. Now, it's recognised as a time to honour Aotearoa's Māori identity, to reflect, look forward and connect with friends and whānau.

To mark the occasion, every year Auckland Council presents Matariki Festival — a three-week program of events. This year's festivities will run from 22 June to 14 July across Tāmaki Makaurau with film screenings, street festivals, thought-provoking exhibitions, glow-in-the-dark puppet shows, and Māori art workshops.

The festival's opening weekend will begin with the Matariki Dawn Karakia on Saturday, 22 June as host iwi manaaki Waikato-Tainui commemorates those who have passed, acknowledges those who remain and welcomes in the Māori New Year with karanga, waiata and haka. The free event at Pukekawa in Auckland Domain is open to all.

There is an abundance of food experiences in this year's program. You can learn about Māori kai traditions and methods in Titirangi, taste test and make your own Māori plant medicine, sample native New Zealand flavours in Devonport, and sample a gourmet take on the hāngi as The Māori Kitchen digs up the lawn in Britomart's Takutai Square.

Manu Aute Kite Day will see kites of all shapes and sizes symbolically connect the realms of the heavens and earth; street festival Te Korakora will take over Federal Street with live performances Māori-inspired food and traditional music and dance.

The after-hours entertainment will continue on 22 July as a posse of illuminated bikes, wheelchairs and skateboards roll along the waterfront as part of aerial dance-theatre, InMotion Matariki. Presented by inclusive performing arts company, Touch Compass, the parade will make its way from Silo Park to The Cloud.

Other highlights include Matariki light shows Stellar at Smales Farm, Matariki on the Waterfront and the Te Ara Rama Light Trail, a celebration of Māori film, and the Matarki night markets.

For more information about Matariki Festival and the full program, visit

Published on June 11, 2019 by Stephen Heard


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