News | 31 May 2019
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Star studded line-up of events for Matariki ki Pōneke

Wellington City Council is proud to announce an exciting festival of events coming to the capital to celebrate Matariki ki Pōneke during June and July.

Image of performance at Ahi Ka 2018
Ahi Kā 2018 - photo credit: Stephen A'Court

The festival of events at sites and venues all around the city will recognise the Māori New Year and include free public concerts and performances, workshops, waka ama, arts and culture activities, and an exploration of Māori tradition and cuisine with Feast Matariki.

One of the highlights on the Matariki calendar is Ahi Kā, happening along the Wellington Waterfront on Friday 21 June. In its second year, this event is a whānau friendly celebration with ahi (fire), kai, kōrero, waiata (music) and whakaari (performances).

Some of the nation's finest Māori performers and storytellers will be showcasing their talents over the evening, there’ll be a light procession featuring creative talent from local schools, plus a chance to enjoy a hāngi, toasted marshmallows, admire fire on the water and a midwinter bonfire – there’s something for everyone says Mayor Justin Lester.

“Matariki celebrates Māori values, mana, language and whakapapa, as well as our joint history, together.

“The 2019 Matariki festival will give Wellington families many opportunities to learn more about Māori culture, and to get engaged in all manner of activities, events and experiences,” says the Mayor.

Matariki complements Te Tauihu, the te reo Māori policy being implemented by the Council says Deputy Mayor Jill Day.

“Language is the pathway to culture, but it is also true that culture is the pathway to language,” says the Deputy Mayor.

“To have a better understanding of te reo Māori, we have to embrace our unique culture and learn about Māori traditions and the heritage of our city.”

The Wellington Sky Show will light up the city with a spectacular fireworks display on Saturday 29 June.

The earlier start time of 6.30pm means more families will be able to enjoy the largest annual council-produced fireworks display in the country. There will also be food trucks and activities for all to enjoy.

Spectators can also tune in to The Breeze (94.1FM & 98.5FM) or More FM (99.7FM & 95.3FM) to hear the simulcast soundtrack as they watch the show.

Main events and activities during Matariki:

Matariki Harbour Challenge
Saturday 15 June and Sunday 16 June | Wellington Waterfront
Hosted by Hikoikoi Waka Ama Club, this unmissable showcase of Māori culture and sport will be on the water in Wellington's harbour and on the waterfront at Te Wharewaka o Pōneke. Team canoes compete Saturday and singles on Sunday.

WAITUHI, Matariki Public Art
17 June – 31 August
Local artist’s Matthew McIntrye Wilson and Maioha Kara have been commissioned to develop public artworks for two sites in the city. McIntrye Wilson’s work will be on a section of the Town Hall hoarding and Kara’s on the flag poles at Frank Kitts Park near Whairepo lagoon.

Courtenay Place Park Lightboxes

Angela Kilford: Te Māra Tautāne
17 June – 2 September
Angela Kilford’s series Te Māra Tautāne explores and celebrates invisible whakapapa connections between the earthly and celestial realms at Matariki in this photographic exhibition.
Angela sees these lightbox images as a contemporary urban māra tautāne, which is a traditional, ceremonial garden, planted in offering to Matariki.

Ahi Kā
Friday 21 June | Wellington Waterfront
Celebrate Matariki with fire, food and whānau. See some of the nation’s finest Māori performers and storytellers.

Feast Matariki Wellington
Fri 21 June – Sun 7 July
Feast Matariki will be happening across 20 restaurants from 21 June to 7 July, as they explore Aotearoa’s traditional cuisine and ingredients, and create Matariki-inspired menus.
As part of Feast Matariki, internationally renowned chef and culinary artist Charles Michel will be presenting a lecture and interactive workshop on the multi-sensory science of taste and flavour.

Kumutoto Ki Tai – Pop-up Village
Friday 21 June to Monday 22 July
Kumutoto ki Tai is a one-time only winter Pop-up Village and will be located in a temporary site Kumutoto ki Tai (by Customhouse Quay). Showcasing emerging businesses, artists, designers and yummy street food trucks over five weeks on Wellington's Waterfront. 

Matariki Celebration
Sunday 23 June | Space Place
Celebrate Matariki with live music and moving images, kai and korero, and activities for children at the Space Place.

Mana Moana
Friday 28 June – Wednesday 3 July
A visual spectacle, exploring narratives of the Pacific Ocean as five artists investigate New Zealand’s complex history of migration and settlement.

Tangi Te Keo Matariki dawn viewing
Saturday 29 June | Mt Victoria summit lookout
Head to the Mt Victoria summit lookout to celebrate the dawn rising of Matariki with telescopes and experts.

Wellington Sky Show
Saturday 29 June | Wellington Waterfront
We mark Matariki this year with our spectacular annual fireworks display.

Matariki with NZTrio and Horomona Horo
Saturday 29 June | Wellington Museum
NZTrio with Horomona Horo present Toru Whā, Ka Rewa a Matariki – a one-hour performance of works celebrating and exploring the meaning of Matariki in modern day Aotearoa.

Haukainga, True people/Home
29 June – 19 July
Toi Pōneke Gallery
Haukainga, True people/Home is a curated exhibition drawn from the Wellington City Council’s City Art Collection. Unashamedly Wellington-centric Haukainga, True people/Home is a show of two halves. One half of the exhibition is made up of artworks made in response to Wellington as a place, a site, and featuring iconic people, landscapes, cityscapes and buildings past and present. The other half is made up of works by local artists.