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, 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.
Wellington City Council invites you to Matariki Ahi Kā, to celebrate the Māori New Year. Enjoy a stunning free whānau experience, including Mana Moana Pōneke.
Matariki Ahi Kā
Āhea | When 6pm - 9pm, Thursday 13 - Sunday 16 July 2023
Ki hea | Where Wellington Waterfront (view on Google Maps), Te Papa (view on Google Maps)
Te utu | Cost Free
Wellington City Council invites you to Matariki Ahi Kā, to celebrate the Māori New Year in a uniquely Wellington way. Enjoy a spectacular, free, whānau-friendly experience, including Mana Moana Pōneke.
Honour our culture and history, with a big, bold, immersive Wellington Waterfront walk-through journey including large-scale projections, fire, and performances in multiple locations. Share kai with friends and whānau each evening at the Odlins Plaza kai court, while listening to performers on the Aroha stage.
You are also invited to Hiwa-i-te-rangi: the Wishing Star and Pohutukawa: honouring those who have passed ceremonies at 8pm each evening. Write down your wishes and thoughts, which will be burnt in a brazier to send them to the stars.
Like a number of other councils around the country, we have decided that fireworks will no longer be a part of Matariki celebrations. Read our Matariki Ahi Kā 2023 media release.
Please visit this page in late June for the event programme.
Aotearoa New Zealand’s Matariki public holiday this year is on Friday 14 July.
Mana Moana Pōneke
Āhea | When 6pm - 9pm, Weekends 1 - 16 July 2023
Ki hea | Where Whairepo Lagoon (view on Google Maps)
Te utu | Cost Free
In the lead-up to Ahi Kā and during the long weekend, enjoy a series of indigenous short films showcasing stories of our ocean, projected on a water screen. Watch as millions of water droplets fall and catch the light, creating the illusion of images appearing from the darkness and floating on the water. Mana Moana Pōneke is a collaboration between Māori and Pasifika musicians, artists, writers, and choreographers.
We look forward to bringing you our full event programme soon, alongside details of the Haha Whetū Star Search and other Matariki-themed installations and exhibitions around the city.
The Wellington Waterfront venue is accessible.
You can use the Te Papa Access way (view on Google Maps), at the front of Te Papa, as a drop-off/pick-up point.
Accessible toilets are available near Odlins Plaza.
Find a mobility parking space.
We encourage people to walk, bike, or use public transport to come to our Matariki events. Parking may be limited. Please note that Friday 14 July is a public holiday.
City parking information
Council-owned car park buildings and areas
Metlink train, bus, ferry and Cable Car schedules