Matariki rises in mid-winter, bringing with it the dawn of the Māori New Year. Literally translated as the 'eyes of god' (mata ariki) or 'little eyes' (mata riki), traditionally the brighter the star cluster, the more plentiful the coming season's harvest.
In recent years Matariki has been more widely celebrated, with more on offer as each year passes. The Matariki Festival is the perfect mid-winter festival to light up the city — throw off those blankets and go and explore the vast array of events on offer.
One of the most beautiful ways to welcome in Matariki is by heading to the dawn karakia, this year being held at Tāwharanui Regional Park.
Hosted by Ngāti Manuhiri and under the Manuhiri pouwhenua, named after the tupuna who, in the mid-1600s migrated from Kawhia to Tāmaki. The karakia will commemorate those who have passed, acknowledge the living and bless the new year — it is perhaps one of the most humbling and warming experiences you can have during Matariki. Stick around and enjoy the entertainment, a light breakfast and learn more about your hosts, Ngāti Manuhiri.
If you're stuck without wheels, you're in luck because there's a free public shuttle bus running from Auckland, just flick an email through to firstname.lastname@example.org to secure your spot.