Matariki Puanga

The celebration of Matariki Puanga, the Māori New Year, dates back over 700 years. We celebrate Matariki with spectacular free, whānau-friendly events each year.

A crowd of onlookers watching an audiovisual display projected on the exterior walls of Te Papa during a past Matariki event.
Nō Rua, nō Mango, nō runga i te rangi (photography by Storybox)

About Matariki Puanga

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 is a single whetū (star). It’s not part of the Matariki cluster but appears in the evening sky shortly before Matariki rises each year. Puanga rises higher in the sky than Matariki so it’s recognised by iwi and hapū that can’t see Matariki from their location. 

 Matariki Puanga celebrates our unique location in Te Upoko-o-te-ika. The shape of the landscape means that in some areas only Puanga can be seen, like in Waiwhetū in Lower Hutt, home to Te Āti Awa ki Te Upoko o Te Ika a Māui. But on the west coast in Porirua, within the boundaries of Ngāti Toa,  Matariki is clearly visible. 

Being a region surrounded by hills and mountain ranges, there are many vantage points where both are visible – here in Te Upoko-o-te-ika we have something special. This gives us the opportunity to celebrate both events in our region.

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.

Learn more about Matariki Puanga

Matariki events 2024

Pou Ahi fire pillar by David Hakaraia.

Matariki Ahi Kā

Thousands of Wellingtonians and visitors to our city enjoyed another spectacular Māori New Year’s celebration on the Wellington waterfront this year. Matariki Ahi Kā included fire, projections, performances, the Mana Moana water screen, and a special ceremony to honour those who passed away since last Matariki. The event also saw friends and whānau sharing kai at the Odlins Plaza Kai Court while listening to live music. 

Mana Moana water screen projection by Storybox.

Mana Moana Pōneke

Mana Moana Pōneke was enjoyed by Wellingtonians in the lead-up to and during our Matariki Ahi Kā event, in June 2024. Mana Moana Pōneke is a series of indigenous short films showcasing stories of our ocean, projected on a water screen.

Visit this page in June 2025 for information about our Matariki events in 2025.  

In the meantime, see what Matariki events are still on below. 

Other Matariki events

Check out the Matariki events happening around the city and the region.


Matariki Puanga traditions in our region

He mihi nā te mana whenua o Te Upoko-o-te-Ika - an introduction from our mana whenua

Tērā Puanga ka rewa i te pae
Nau mai, hara mai ngā hua o te tau
Tākiri ko te ata, ka pua te ata
Korihi te manu tino awatea
Ko te tangi mai o te kō, kō korimako
i te atatū, tū ka takatū ki te ao mārama Tēnei
te raukura, tēnei te rauhuia, tēnā koutou

Behold the rise of Rigel.
Welcome the fruits of the new year.
As dawn strikes, morning blooms
The early bird calls.
It is the call of the bellbird
After sun rise, prepared for the world of light.
Here is the plume of the Toroa, here is the
feather of the Huia. Greetings to you all

In the last few years, Aotearoa New Zealand has embraced the celebration of Matariki, the Māori New Year. Riding the wave of interest from all walks of life, as mana whenua, we’d like to share some of the whakaaro (thinking) about the authentic Matariki tradition in Te Upoko o te Ika a Māui, and about the lesser-known single star Puanga.

Ngāti Toa and Te Āti Awa ki te Upoko o te Ika a Māui, alongside Wellington city and regional councils, have come together in acknowledgment of the shared significance of Matariki and Puanga.

We invite you and your whānau, iwi and communities to share in our knowledge and tikanga and explore the ways that we can all celebrate and uplift Matariki and Puanga this year.

  • Kura Moeahu – Tiamana (Chairman), Te Rūnanganui o Te Āti Awa ki te Upoko o Te Ika a Māui
  • Dr Te Taku Parai – Pou Tikanga, Te Rūnanga o Toa Rangatira

Highlights from previous year

See the photos below for an overview of Matariki Ahi Kā 2024.