Our Wellington

News | 4 June 2021

Matariki ki Pōneke Festival – watch this space

Matariki ki Pōneke Festival 2021 will be a time to celebrate, remember and honour our diversity, culture and combined history with a two-week festival of live and digital events, exhibitions, workshops and online activities.

Four jets of flame extending into the sky light the waterfront.

Wellington City Council has released its full programme and there’s something for everyone, everywhere, on land sea and air.

Ahi Kā kicks-off the festival with a weekend of ahi (fire), kai (food), whānau (family), storytelling and entertainment, then a fortnight of events and activities ending with Aotearoa’s largest annual fireworks display, the Matariki fireworks on Whanganui-a-Tara Wellington Harbour.

Mayor Andy Foster says the Māori new year is a significant time for all New Zealanders, as a time to come together, look back, and face forward.

“Matariki ki Pōneke 2021 will bring a welcome vibrancy to our beautiful winter waterfront which is the perfect place to celebrate the wonder of the natural world and reflect on Wellington’s remarkable environmental restoration journey the results of which, nourish our sense of wellbeing,” said Mayor Foster.

The Matariki festival will also showcase some of the best Māori talent in the country, providing a platform for talented storytellers, artists and performers to share and embrace tikanga Māori in a free and whānau friendly environment.

Councillor Jill Day (Ngāti Tūwharetoa) agrees Matariki is particularly significant this year, as 2021 has seen huge improvement for Māori in the decision-making processes and input in areas of local government.

“This year we are proud to have introduced mana whenua representation with voting rights and remuneration, and more recently a Māori Ward in Wellington which will come into effect for the 2022 local elections.

“Both these milestones are a step towards honouring Te Tiriti o Waitangi, and making a better future for Pōneke and our tamariki – which is definitely cause for celebration.”

Matariki ki Pōneke Festival 2021 | Key events

Ahi Kā
Fri 2 – Sat 3 July | 5pm–8.30pm
Wellington Waterfront
Learn about the Māori New Year with a celebration of Ahi (fire), kai (food) and whānau (family)

Tūrama
Fri 2 – Sat 3 July evening Tūrama will shine skyward from Taranaki Wharf at Ahi Kā. 
Sun 4 – Weds 7 July evening Tūrama travels to the suburbs – check out Council’s social media channels for locations. 

Mana Moana 
Tue 6 – Sat 10 July | 6pm–10pm
Water screen display at Whairepo Lagoon

Matariki Fireworks
Sat 10 July | 6.30pm
Wellington Harbour
Postponement date Sun 11 July

For more information, please visit www.wcc.govt.nz/matariki