About Matariki Puanga
Nau mai, haere mai. The rising of Puanga (also known as the star Rigel in Orion) and the Matariki star cluster (Pleiades, or the Seven Sisters) mark the Māori New Year and is a time to reflect on our loved ones who have passed and to prepare for the New Year, as we enter the colder months.
Puanga and Matariki is a time to get together, to restore faith and hope for the future, to celebrate whanaungatanga (kinship), to be with others, to share stories and kai, and plan to work towards a sustainable future.
Puanga can only be seen by a few iwi – those who are in parts of the Far North, Taranaki, Whanganui, Wellington, the Hutt Valley, and parts of the South Island. Puanga is the star acknowledged by our mana whenua iwi Te Āti Awa Taranaki Whānui, while Ngāti Toa acknowledges the Matariki cluster.
In Wellington, we can see both Puanga and Matariki. Learn about the Matariki Puanga tradition in our region.
Aotearoa New Zealand has celebrated a Matariki public holiday since 2022.
Matariki events 2023
Our Matariki Ahi Kā and Mana Moana Pōneke events, to celebrate the Māori new year, were enjoyed by thousands of Wellingtonians and visitors in July 2023.
Matariki Ahi Kā included large-scale projections, performances, fire, a starlight disco, and our 'Hiwa-i-te-rangi: the Wishing Star' and 'Pōhutukawa: honouring those who have passed away' ceremonies. People also enjoyed sharing kai with friends and whānau each evening at the Odlins Plaza kai court, while listening to performers on the Aroha stage.
And in the lead-up to Ahi Kā and during the long weekend, visitors to Whairepo Lagoon could view Mana Moana Pōneke, a series of indigenous short films showcasing stories of our ocean, projected on a water screen. This was a collaboration between Māori and Pasifika musicians, artists, writers, and choreographers.
See the photos below for an overview of this wonderful community event.
We look forward to celebrating Matariki again in 2024.