Seven Sisters, Seven Brothers rise for Matariki

15 June 2015

Join Wellington City Council as we celebrate Matariki with two performances showcasing emerging and renowned Māori and Pacific performers over two nights at the Wellington Opera House.

Mere Tokorahi Boynton.

Mere Tokorahi Boynton


The stellar lineup for the Seven Sisters concert includes Mere Boynton, Vanessa Stacey, Te Kahureremoa Taumata, Mo Ete, Adele Riwai, Keely Turuwhenua and Sianne Dougherty.

The Seven Brothers features an equally impressive array of talent with Tunes of I, Modern Māori Quartet, Rei, Matt Tui and Nofo Lameko all hitting the Opera House stage.

Karaoke Queen, artist and events coordinator for the Council, Suzanne Tamaki feels right at home with performers, musicians and artists.

“There is so much talent here in Aotearoa and connecting these Māori and Pacific artists is a privilege. It’s great to see Wellington City Council getting behind Matariki and watching these celebrations grow.”

Matariki is the Māori name for the group of stars also known as the Pleiades or The Seven Sisters and is marked by the rise of Matariki and sighting of the next new moon.

A time of festivity for Māori, the tangata whenua or first people of the land, Matariki occurs around mid-June. What better way to celebrate the Māori new year than with two concerts showcasing some of the best talent New Zealand has to offer – for free.

With over 100 events taking place in the Greater Wellington Region for Matariki 2015, these are two shows you need to put on your calendar. The Seven Sisters Concert takes place 30 June, 6.30pm–8.30pm. Seven Brothers follows on 1 July, 6.30pm–8.30pm both at Wellington Opera House. Entry to both is free.

Mere Tokorahi Boynton is a singer and actor, who draws on her experience in Māori performing arts and music. Mere has developed a style of singing that draws on her classical training and her taha Māori.

Singer/songwriter Keely Turuwhenua started her career busking and now performs in some of Wellington’s finest venues. Her unique mash-up of guitar playing, lyrics, beautiful vocals and casual banter will keep you wanting more.

Hailing from different corners of Aotearoa, the Modern Māori Quartet – James Tito, Maaka Pohatu, Matariki Whatarau and Francis Kora – come together for an evening filled with waiata, humour and charm.

Nofo Lameko is male lead vocalist for soul funk band Steezin' Hawkings and will be dishing out some acoustic soul for Seven Brothers. He competed in this year’s X Factor, making it to the top 12.

Economic Growth and Arts portfolio leader Councillor Ray Ahipene-Mercer says: “Not only is the Council putting on two concerts to hail in the Māori New Year but they are commissioning a new public artwork, WAITUHI 2015, as part of this year’s Matariki festivities, bringing art to the streets and to the people.”

Wharehoka Smith is an Artist and Designer of Taranaki Tuturu (Taranaki Te Ati Awa Nga Ruahine Tau Iwi). In 1978, Wharehoka Smith pursued an interest in Toi Māori by returning to Parihaka, his ancestral pā, and participated in a carving project under the tutelage of Greg Whakataka Matahi Brightwell.

Wharehoka believes that Toi Māori communicates successfully across cultures at an art and design level in a modern context.

“It is a beautiful living heritage and I hope that this artwork will achieve its potential to visually represent Matauranga Māori, individuality and the collective which is Tikanga Māori and New Zealand.”

Wharehoka is developing a range of Toi Māori inspired interior and exterior architectural and design products, which acknowledge Tikanga and Matauranga Māori.

The location for this new public artwork is Jervois Quay, under the City to Sea Bridge. Wharehoka Smith’s work will be installed later this month– so keep a look out.