Matariki Puanga

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

Matariki Ahi Kā memorial projection

Honour a loved one who has passed away by providing their name and a message to display on our memorial projection.

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

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 Taranaki Whānui, 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.

Aotearoa New Zealand has celebrated a Matariki public holiday since 2022.

Matariki events 2024

Pou Ahi fire pillar by David Hakaraia.

Matariki Ahi Kā

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

We invite you to celebrate the Māori New Year in a uniquely Wellington way.

Honour our culture and history, with a big, bold, immersive Wellington Waterfront walk-through journey including fire, projections, performances, and a special ceremony to honour those who have passed away and to express our hopes for the future. The ceremony begins at the Memorial Wall each evening at 7.45pm and moves along Te Papa Promenade to Whairepo Lagoon, where names and memories will be released into flames to become stars. Share kai with friends and whānau each evening at the Odlins Plaza kai court, while listening to performers on the Aroha stage.

Visit this page in June for programme information.

Matariki Ahi Kā is always a well-attended event. Please be mindful of others and keep an eye on your tamariki. Some of the projections run on a three-year cycle, but there will always be something new to experience at this special event.

Food vendor registrations for Matariki Ahi Kā have now closed.

Matariki Ahi Kā – memorial projection

The rising of Puanga and the Matariki star cluster is a time to reflect on the past and remember our loved ones who have passed away, celebrate the present, and prepare for the new year ahead. 

As part of our Matariki Ahi Kā event, we will honour people who have passed away since last Matariki by displaying their names and a message on a memorial projection on the side of Te Papa (view on Google Maps).

If you’d like to put forward the name of a loved one with a message for inclusion in the projection, please complete the online form below:

Provide a name for the memorial projection

Mana Moana water screen projection by Storybox.

Mana Moana Pōneke

Āhea | When 6pm–9pm, 15-16 June, 22-23 June, 27-30 June
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.

Getting there

Other Matariki events

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

Matariki stars

Read about Puanga and the Matariki star cluster.

Highlights from previous year

See the photos below for an overview of our 2023 Matariki Ahi Kā event.