News | 12 July 2023
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Get ready for a star-studded weekend in the capital

The stars have aligned in the capital as the city prepares for an out of this world weekend of events, activities and an exciting celebration of Matariki Puanga around the city.

Images being projected on a water screen over the Whairepo Lagoon.
Ki uta ki tai, by Louise Potiki Bryant, projected on a water screen over Whairepo Lagoon (photography by Jeff McEwan)

Matariki Ahi Kā will celebrate Matariki Puanga the Māori New Year with a spectacular, free, whānau-friendly experience on the Wellington Waterfront, the FIFA Women’s World Cup 2023™ Original Trophy will be on tour around the city, Tākina Wellington Convention and Exhibition Centre is having a public open day on Saturday, and Eat, Drink, Play continues to celebrate the best of local food, drink and entertainment.

Mayor Tory Whanau says these events will provide something for everyone and are the perfect way to celebrate the Māori New Year.

“The Matariki festival is all about connecting with friends, whānau and tamariki, reflecting, remembering, and sharing kai and korero – so we encourage everyone to get out and about, and enjoy the amazing events and celebrations coming up over the next week.”

Matariki Ahi Kā

6pm-9pm, Thurs 13 – Sun 16 July
Wellington Waterfront

Honour our culture and history, with a big, bold, immersive walk-through journey including large-scale projections, fire, and performances. Share kai at the Odlins Plaza kai court, while listening to performers on the Aroha stage. Wellingtonians and visitors are also invited to Hiwa-i-te-rangi: the Wishing Star and Pohutukawa: honouring those who have passed away ceremonies at 8pm each evening.

Mana Moana Pōneke

6pm-9pm, Thurs 13 – Sun 16 July

Whairepo Lagoon

Enjoy Mana Moana Pōneke - a series of indigenous short films about our ocean, projected on water. Mana Moana Pōneke is a collaboration between Māori and Pasifika musicians, artists, writers, and choreographers.

Haha Whetū – Star Search

12-30 July

Botanic Garden ki Paekākā

Gather your friends and whānau this Matariki to find the ten whetū (stars) we have painted around the Botanic Garden ki Paekākā. Haha whetū is an interactive journey. You will learn about the significance of Puanga and each whetū in the Matariki constellation. Download the app and collect them all.

WAITUHI – Matariki flag project

This year’s WAITUHI project at the flag poles on the border of Frank Kitts Park facing Whairepo Lagoon have been designed by year 7 and 8 ākonga from Te Kura Kaupapa Māori o Ngā Mokopuna (in Seatoun) with guidance from local artist, Shannon Te Ao.

The students have created artworks for each of the eight flags that respond to Matariki – to the stars and their meaning and role. For example, Hiwa-i-te-Rangi, the youngest of the Matariki star’s role is to shine (to pīata), to provide guiding light and motivation to step into the unknown. Hiwa-i-te-rangi represents our aspirations for a prosperous season ahead.

She is the star to wish upon, to send dreams and desires to in the hope that they will be realised. This will be the eighth year of WAITUHI. Every year, leading up to Matariki, Council commissions artists who whakapapa Māori to design work for this site.

Eat Drink Play – Taste Matariki Trail 2023

Explore the city and feed your soul tasting and celebrating the dishes and drinks created by our talented chefs and mixologists with the Eat Drink Play – Taste Matariki Trail.

Taking inspiration from the stars of Matariki and Pohutukawa, we celebrate the time of harvest and feasting as well as connecting to our culture, heritage and ancestors.

Connect with the special people in your life and taste your way around our community.

Tākina Wellington Convention and Exhibition Centre

50 Cable St

10am-5pm, Saturday 15 July

Everyone is welcome to come and explore Wellington’s new conference and exhibition centre, including the upper convention levels that are normally reserved for conference attendees.

Learn about the story of Tākina, the meaning of the centre’s name, details of its build, and how the project gained the country’s first five-star NZGBC Green Star Design rating in a Convention Centre.

At 1pm tune into a talk with speakers from Dunning Thornton Consultants, Beca and Studio Pacific Architecture about how the building came to life.

On the ground floor, you can check out Wellington’s newest eating place Zephyr Café, or get your tickets to the first exhibition of Tākina, ‘Jurassic World by Brickman’!

FIFA Women's World Cup™ Going Beyond Trophy Tour

13-15 July

Various locations

After four months on its global tour, the FIFA Women’s World Cup 2023™ Original Trophy is on its way to Wellington. The Trophy will attend a range of events across Wellington and Team Base Camp cities, Porirua and Upper Hutt. Joined by Tazuni™, the official FIFA Women’s World Cup 2023™ Mascot, and at some of the stops, special appearances from FIFA Legend™ Carli Lloyd and Female Football Freestyle World Champion and Going Beyond Skills Coach Lia Lewis. #FIFAGoingBeyond

Other events around the city

Matariki at the Museum, 1-16 July

This July, to celebrate Matariki 2023 our Te Wheke space will be transformed into a creative hub for everyone to enjoy.

Hākari Below the Stars, 13 July

Join Space Place in welcoming the Māori New Year with whānau-friendly activities, and kai.

Matariki Music Making, 13 July

Explore the sounds of the nine stars of Matariki and create a New Year’s anthem or a song of a star using natural and unnatural sounds!

Family Day: Matariki Edition, 14 July

Our popular Family Day is back for July. Come to City Gallery Wellington on Matariki Holiday for a day of experiences and encounters.

Matariki Storytelling with Moira Wairama, 15 July

Join Wellington Storyteller Moira Wairama as she performs a special storytelling session at Capital E.

Astronomy on Tap, 25 July

July’s Astronomy on Tap will celebrate Puanga ki Matariki, the new year/harvest/foretelling the weather/remembering our loved ones who have passed.

We encourage everyone to use public transport or walk, ride, scoot or car share to avoid parking frustration during this busy time.

For more information about Matariki and the full programme visit and keep an eye on Council’s social media channels for more details and weather updates.