News | 12 June 2024
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Celebrate the Māori New Year with a stellar Matariki festival

Celebrate the Māori New Year in a uniquely Wellington way with Matariki Ahi Kā around the waterfront this month.

Mana Moana water screen projection by Storybox.
Mana Moana on Whairepo Lagoon.

Mana Moana Pōneke starts the festival with a series of indigenous short films showcasing stories of our ocean, projected on a water screen at Whairepo Lagoon.      


A collaboration between Māori and Pasifika musicians, artists, writers, and choreographers, the Mana Moana event runs from 6pm-9pm weekends from 15-30 June.     


On the weekend of 27-30 June, the waterfront will transform into an immersive self-led journey including fire pits, projections, performances, and food trucks in the Odlins Plaza kai court.  


This year the event is split into three zones ‘Look to the Future’, ‘Celebrate the Present’ and ‘Remember the Past’ with a Tomokanga at each point of entrance reflecting the space.     


The Aroha Stage in Odlins Plaza will host local talent including Ngāti Pōneke Young Māori Club (kapa haka), Tom Knowles (reggae, roots), Casual Healing (Māori roots, RnB, reggae), Tui (soul, pop) and Awerangi (oldskool jams).     


To honour those who have passed away since last Matariki, the public were asked to submit names which will be projected onto a Memorial Wall. These will be displayed on the side of Te Papa near the Solace in the Wind statue each evening of the event.    


Attendees are also invited to write down wishes and hopes for the future, and place these in baskets at the Memorial Wall and Whairepo lagoon to be released into flames to become stars each night.     


The celebration of Matariki Puanga, the Māori New Year, dates back over 700 years and is accompanied by long-established traditions. The rising of Puanga (also known as the star Rigel in Orion) and the Matariki star cluster (Pleiades or the Seven Sisters) marks the start of the Māori New Year.   


Puanga and Matariki are time for friends and whānau 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.      


The Matariki Ahi Kā festival will once again reflect this and will be big, bold, and immersive, with multiple experiences stretching around the waterfront, says Mayor Tory Whanau.       


“These events raise awareness and education around Matariki, Te Ao Māori, and Wellington’s many stories – and everyone is invited to engage, enjoy and experience this unique festival.”  

Hurricanes mascot runs on to field and greets fans with players in background.
Hurricanes host semi-final at Sky Stadium.

Other events happening around the waterfront include the Lōemis Greathall hybrid art market at Shed 6 on Sunday 16 June from 11am-5pm. Koha entry gives you access to over 35 artists across a mix of disciplines combining to create this event. Find out more at Lō

The Wellington Marathon steps out on Sunday 23 June from 9am-5pm, so expect some disruption along the route and follow traffic management and diversion instructions.    

The always popular Ice Rink is returning to Queens Wharf, opening from 28 June – 28 July from 10am-10pm daily, with student nights Wednesdays from 7pm-10pm.     

And the Canes are continuing their epic Super Rugby season with a semi-final against the Chiefs kicking-off this Saturday at Sky Stadium at 4.35pm. If successful, they will host the final on Saturday 22 June at 7.05pm at the Sky Stadium.

Expect large crowds heading to and from the stadium along the waterfront and CBD for both matches.   

Some of these events will mean diversions or street closures for organiser access, set-up, pack down, large crowds gathering, and primarily for the health and safety of all.     

It’s recommended that car users consider alternative routes or modes of transport during some of the major events. Cyclists and e-scooters follow diversions or walk your wheels, and pedestrians take extra care due to the changes.     

Full details of street closures can be found at     

Matariki Ahi Kā    

Āhea | When 6pm–9pm, Thursday 27 June - Sunday 30 June 2024
Ki hea | Where Wellington Waterfront | Te Papa 
Te utu | Cost Free     

Mana Moana Pōneke    

Āhea | When 6pm–9pm, 15-16 June, 22-23 June, 27-30 June 
Ki hea | Where Whairepo Lagoon  
Te utu | Cost Free    

Find out more on the website