News | 26 May 2022
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Stars align for Matariki ki Pōneke in capital this year

The capital will celebrate the Māori New Year with Matariki ki Pōneke – a series of events, projections and experiences for the whole whānau to enjoy.

This year's Matariki festival, and its underlying message of renewal, is more important than ever, says Mayor Andy Foster.


“This is going to be a significant event as we celebrate the first time New Zealand has had a public holiday commemorating it. 


“The exciting programme is designed to raise awareness and education around Matariki, Te Ao Māori and Wellington’s unique stories and landscape with engaging and entertaining experiences – utilising some of the best and brightest talent from around the capital.” 

Councillor Jill Day (Ngāti Tūwharetoa) says Matariki being recognised as a public holiday is another significant advance for equality in Aotearoa.

“We now have a Māori Ward in Pōneke, the Tākai Here partnership agreement between mana whenua groups and Council, we’ve recently adopted the Tūpiki Ora Māori Strategy, and now we have a recognised public holiday celebrating the Māori New Year.

“There is a lot to be proud of, but still a long way to go – in the meantime, let’s come together with tamariki, friends and whānau this Matariki to remember, reflect, connect, kōrero, enjoy kai, and embrace ahi kā, toi mahi and te ao Māori.”

Fireworks over Wellington harbour.

The Matariki ki Pōneke Ahi Kā experience will be based around the Wellington waterfront and Te Ngākau Civic Square from Thursday 23 to Sunday 26 June between 6pm and 9pm each evening.

Festival highlights

  • Thursday 23 June | 6pm: Karakia and blessing outside Te Papa by Toa Waaka, Tikanga advisor and Matauranga Māori specialist in Tatai Aorangi (Māori Astronomy) with taonga puoro artist Tamihana Katene.
  • Followed by the multi-performer DRUM wave (Distributed Rhythms United Mix) – a 12 stage percussion sonic wave. This marks the 125th Anniversary of Te Herenga Waka Victoria University of Wellington and their relationship with Wellington City.
  • 23, 25 and 26 June | 6pm and 7pm: Victoria University Wellington Drum Wave performances at locations across the waterfront.
  • Friday 24 June | 7.15pm | Matariki Fireworks display (postponement date/s are 25 or 26 June, at 7.15pm)
  • Friday 24 June | 6pm – 10pm | Hākari Under the Stars: Join Space Place for a whānau-friendly evening of celebrating Matariki with planetarium screenings, telescope viewings (weather permitting), tamariki activities, kapa haka, kai and the best views of the waterfront fireworks.
  • AHI POU A uniquely crafted fire pou by artist David Hakaraia will greet people at the Odlins Plaza entrance.
  • WAI AHI braziers floating in Whairepo Lagoon.
  • Bespoke designed WAHAROA welcome people on a journey of discovery by the Autaki bridge on Taranaki Wharf, and Te Ngākau Civic Square entrance.
  • WAITUHI MURAL Māori artist, Tane Morris, has designed the artwork for the Frank Kitts car park waterfront windows and the Frank Kitts flags.
  • HIWA-I-TE-RANGI projection and soundscape installation by Jamie Berry on The Timbers in Odlins Plaza.
  • Projections and soundscape on the boatshed waterfront side – collaboration with Storybox and Massey University.
  • POU RAMA Whairepo Lagoon lawn light sculptures inspired by Māori land and symbols of support. Designed by Storybox in collaboration with visual artist Desna Whaanga-Schollum.
  • Reclaiming the Moana: An immersive experience with projections on buildings and stairs around Te Ngākau Civic Square. The 10-minute experience focuses on reclaimed land, climate change and the history of the space.
  • Artwork with a soundscape will be projected onto the front of Te Papa Tongarewa, Museum of New Zealand by artists David Hakaraia, Rawiri Barriball, Hari Townsend and Tom Trengrove in collaboration with Storybox.
  • Carter Fountain, Toroa sculpture, Michael Fowler Centre, and the City to Sea Bridge will be lit up to guide the journey.Courtenay Place Light Boxes by Tanya Te Miringa Te Rorarangi Ruka (24 May – 18 September 2022). Ko au te whenua, te whenua ko au. A series of digitally woven pouwhenua derived from the natural phenomena of Te Aro and the local environment as part of the Matariki festival.
  • 30 June – 4 July | 5.30pm-pm: MANA MOANA water screen: Themes of ocean, migration and diaspora are projected onto a screen of water on Whairepo Lagoon. Showcase by Storybox and Massey.