Matariki Puanga

The celebration of Matariki Puanga, the Māori New Year, dates back over 700 years. Celebrate with spectacular, free, whānau-friendly, live, and digital, experiences on the Waterfront.

A crowd of onlookers watch an audiovisual display projected on the exterior walls of Te Papa.
Nō Rua, nō Mango, nō runga i te rangi. Photography by Storybox.

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

Mobility parking


Food vendor registrations call out

We are open for mobile food vendor/truck registrations for our Matariki Ahi Kā event, which is running from Thursday 13 July to Sunday 16 July.

The deadline for food vendor applications is 5pm, Thursday 8 June 2023. We'll advise applicants if their application has been successful by 19 June 2023. Please apply by completing the online application form below.

Event details – Matariki Ahi Kā

Āhea | When Thursday 13 July – Sunday 16 July 2023, 6pm - 9pm
Ki hea | Where  Odlins Plaza (view on Google Maps)

At the centre of our event site, in Odlins Plaza, we will be setting up a ‘Kai Court’ with tables and seats, dedicated lighting, and ambient entertainment. Food vendor numbers are limited to a maximum of 14 and all food vendors will be expected to be available for all 4 nights.

The Ahi Kā event programme will include projections, fire installations, and live entertainment (please note there is no fireworks night).

Times for food vendors:

  • Thursday 13 July, 3pm - 4pm arrival and set up onsite, open from 5pm - 9pm
  • Friday 14 July (public holiday), optional opening 12noon - 5pm; open 5pm - 9pm
  • Saturday 15 July, open 4pm - 9pm
  • Sunday 16 July, open 4pm - 9pm, pack down and exit 9pm - 10.30pm

Note: vendors who have a regular Harbourside Market spot can leave Odlins Plaza after the event on Saturday night and return after 2pm on Sunday.

Important information

Mobile food vendor fee: $400 plus GST.

Compulsory compostable packaging

In keeping with the kaupapa of Matariki, we are looking to keep the waste produced by this event as low as possible. All food vendors must use approved compostable packaging. Our waste minimisation team will be in touch with each food vendor to assist with finding compostable options that match their needs.


All vendors will be provided with power (there can be no individual generators used onsite). All food trucks and caravans at this event must have a current electrical Warrant of Fitness and all electrical cables and appliances must have a current test tag.

Mobile food vendor application form

If you’re interested in being a part of this event, please complete the online food vendor application form.

Food vendor application form

Wellington region Matariki Puanga events


Matariki Hautapu

Āhea | When 5am - 7am, Wednesday 12 July 2023
Ki hea | Where Whitirea (view on Google Maps)
Te utu | Cost  Free

Matariki Projection show by Miriama Grace-Smith and Patricia Grace

Āhea | When 6pm - 9pm, Wednesday 12 - Sunday 16 July 2023
Ki hea | Where Te Rauparaha Arena (view on Google Maps)
Te utu | Cost  Free

Visit the Porirua City Council website for their Matariki event information.

Lower Hutt

Matariki Puanga

Āhea | When 10am - 4pm, Sunday 9 July 2023
Ki hea | Where Hilary Court, Naenae (view on Google Maps)
Te utu | Cost  Free

Visit the Hutt City Council website for their Matariki event information.

Upper Hutt

Matariki Puanga

Āhea | When 3pm - 8pm, Sunday 15 July 2023
Ki hea | Where 836 Fergusson Drive, Upper Hutt (view on Google Maps)
Te utu | Cost  Free

Visit the Upper Hutt City Council website for their Matariki event information.


Highlights from Matariki ki Pōneke Festival 2022