2021 Matariki events around New Zealand

Matariki is a cluster of stars that rises in mid-winter, marking the start of the Māori New Year. It provides an opportunity for whānau to come together to acknowledge the year that has been, to prepare for the seasons ahead; to celebrate with kai, kōrero, singing and dancing.

Here are some Matariki events happening around New Zealand in 2021:


Akohia Ngā Kai o Matariki (Learn about the Foods of Matariki)

Date: Sunday 4 July

Location: Te Manawa, Rotorua Farmers Market

Time: 11:00am – 12:00pm

Event link: here

At the Rotorua Farmers Market, Joyann Onekawa from Soul Time will share her experience on being raised on the whenua (land) by her grandparents who taught her all about growing kai and natural healing properties of native plants. Te Rangikaheke Kiripatea, head of Kai Rotorua, will talk about “lessons that kumara can teach us” and the growing and harvesting of produce. There will also be a kumara planting demonstration. Following the talks, visitors will be welcome to taste a locally grown and prepared dish of kumara soup served with rewana bread.

Matariki – Te Tau Hou Māori (the Māori New Year) Exhibition

Location: Rotorua Library Te Aka Mauri, 1127 Haupapa Street, Rotorua
Date: Wednesday 2 Jun – Saturday 10 Jul
Time: 10:00 am – 4:00 pm
Event link: here

An exhibition about Matariki – past, present and future. Designed and curated by the team at Rotorua Museum Te Whare Taonga o Te Arawa.

Matariki Māreikura – Honouring the Divine Female Essence: kōrero

A series of three talks

Location: Council Chamber, Rotorua Lakes Council
Dates: Tuesday 6 July 2021, 5.30pm; Wednesday 7 July 2021, 6pm; Thursday 8 July 2021, 5.30pm.
Event link: here

Matariki is the matriarch of the star cluster named after her. She signifies reflection, hope, health and wellbeing and our connection to the environment. We honour her by honouring ira wāhine, the divine female essence with a series of three kōrero.

Tuesday 6 July 2021, 5.30pm

Ngahuia Murphy (Ngāti Manawa, Ngāti Ruapani ki Waikaremoana, Tuhoe, Ngāti Rangitihi, Ngāti Kahungunu)

Ngahuia Murphy wrote Te Awa Atua: A book based on her Masters thesis examining customary Māori philosophies regarding the sacredness of whare tangata – the stories, ceremonies and practices pertaining to menstruation in the pre-colonial Māori world. Murphy was drawn to this kaupapa as a feminist, a midwife and a midwifery educator.

Wednesday 7 July 2021, 6pm

Aroha Yates-Smith (Te Arawa, Tainui, Takitimu, Horouta, and Mataatua) is a performer and an academic.

Yates-Smith did her PhD on the lost stories of Māori female deities. Her thesis, titled Hine! e Hine!: rediscovering the feminine in Māori spirituality, examines the role of atua wāhine – Māori female guardians and the marginalisation of the feminine, both past and present. She is also a composer and performer.

Thursday 8 July 2021, 5.30pm:

Ngahuia Te Awekotuku (Te Arawa, Tūhoe, Waikato, Ruānuku).

Ngahuia Te Awekotuku is a short story writer, essayist and spokeswoman on Māori, feminist and lesbian issues. She has published a collection of essays and a collection of traditional stories, retold by her, about women of mana in Māori myth and history.

Matariki Events 2021

Matariki Events 2021 Image rights: Eventfinda


Matariki on the Move: Kōrero with Dr Rangi Matamua

Location: Hawkins Theatre, 13 Ray Small Drive, Papakura, Auckland

Date: Wednesday 7 July 2021

Time: 7:00pm – 9:00pm
Event link: here

Join renowned Māori astronomer Dr Rangi Matamua, maramataka Māori expert Rereata Makiha and master navigator Hoturoa Kerr for one night only, as they share their mātauranga (knowledge) and passion for Māori astronomy. With extensive knowledge of the maramataka (lunar calendar), celestial navigation and the Matariki star cluster, this is a unique opportunity to hear from three tohunga (experts) in person.

NZSO – Matariki in association with the New Zealand Listener

Location: Auckland Town Hall – Great Hall, 303 Queen St, CBD, Auckland

Date:Friday 2 July 2021

Time: 7:30pm – 9:00pm
Event link: here

‘Kua haehae ngā hihi o Matariki’ – The rays of Matariki shine brightly in a time of darkness to bring us together with hope for the future. As winter begins, we acknowledge Pūanga, heralding the rising of Matariki into the dawn. Ngā Hihi o Matariki is a significant new work of symphonic proportions by Gareth Farr. To celebrate this Māori new year, join us for this sensational pulse-quickening experience – an opportunity to come together in recognition of a celestial event of uniqueness and beauty.

Ngā Whetū O Matariki: a live Matariki kōrero under the planetarium stars

Location: Stardome Observatory & Planetarium, Auckland

Date: Thursday 24 June – Sun 1 August
Time: 7:00pm – 8:00pm, 8:30pm – 9:30pm
Event link: here

Experience a live Matariki kōrero under the planetarium stars. You’ll hear about ngā whetū (the stars), ngā aorangi (the planets), and the many stories written in our night skies passed down from generation to generation. Sit back, relax in our reclined planetarium seats and take a whānau-friendly journey with our presenters as they share their astronomy mātauranga. Experience a collection of animated stories, learn about Maramataka (Māori lunar calendar) and discover the rich traditions of Matariki from a Māori perspective.

Matariki at Auckland Museum

Suitable for: Tamariki 6-12 years

Date: Booklets available from Thu 1 July

Location: Auckland Museum, Auckland Domain
Event link: here

Auckland Museum have a brand new, activity-filled Star Journey Booklet for children (and the whole whānau) to discover and explore the Matariki connections throughout the Museum galleries! The booklet includes a Tāmaki Herenga Waka word find, taonga Māori list to find and complete and a counting activity. Once young explorers have completed the booklet they can enter the draw to win some Matariki prizes.



Matariki Constellation String Art – Northern Lights Festival

Location: Tutukaka Marina, Whangarei District

Date: Thursday 1 July 2021 – Sunday 11 July 2021

Time: 5:00pm – 8:30pm
Event link: here

The 9 stars of Matariki will be created by Sam Newsome from The Kings of Strings and placed among a tree scape adjacent to Tutukaka Marina’s K Peir. These stars will be created with UV reactive string and illuminated with black lights to create a truly awe-inspiring art work telling the stories and meanings of the nine stars.



Whakanuia Matariki ki Heretaunga

Location: Flaxmere Village Green, Flaxmere, Hastings, Hawke’s Bay

Date: Friday 25 June 2021

Time: 5:00pm – 8:00pm
Event link: here

Dress up warm and come along to this popular free Maori new year family celebration that attracts thousands of delighted families. There’s singers, dancers, kapa haka, bands and hip hop dancers. Free kiddies rides and hot kiwi kai are on offer. Write a message of love onto a lantern, make a wish and place inside Te Waka a Rangi then join a procession of lights and life. The show ends with a spectacular fireworks extravaganza.



Ahi Kā

Location: Wellington Waterfront, Wellington

Date: Friday 2 July 2021 5:00pm and Saturday 3 July 2021

Time: 5:00pm
Event link: here

Celebrate Matariki, the Maori New Year – on the Wellington Waterfront for ahi (fire), kai (food), storytelling, waiata (song) and entertainment across two evenings.

Ahi Kā live performances – Experience Aotearoa’s finest Māori performers on the Karaka Stage featuring Kirsten Te Rito, Aotearoa Allstars, Majic, Kura Kaupapa nga Mokopuna, Awerangi Thompson, Nikau Te Huki, James Kereama Stent & Tui Tahere-Katene, Taki Toru.

Ahi Kā Whānau Films – Enjoy a selection of short films brought to you by Wellington City Council and Māoriland Film Festival. Screening from 5pm – 8.30pm.

Manu 2021 – Experience Manu 2021, a cinematic audio-visual show projected on the seaward side of Te Papa. Manu honours Māori kites, birds and all flying creatures for their spiritual significance and their role in connecting earth and sky.

Ahi Tipua – Light, fire, sea and sound meet in the Ahi Tipua art installation – connecting us to Aotearoa’s volcanic realm. Screening from 5pm – 8.30pm.

The Tūrama light sculpture – will shine skywards from Taranaki Wharf at Ahi Kā before travelling around the Wellington suburbs between 4 – 7 July.

Hangi under the stars – Matariki 2021

Location: Te Rauparaha Arena, Porirua – Mana, Wellington Region

Date: Thursday 8 July 2021

Time: 5:00pm – 7:00pm
Event link: here

Join us for a hearty hāngi, experience the story of Matariki, a virtual Haka and send your Matariki wishes to the sky in our spectacular starlit setting.


Matariki Lighting The Beacons Festival

Location: Maclean Park, Marine Parade, Paraparaumu, Kapiti Coast

Date: Friday 2 July 2021 and Saturday 3 July 2021
Time: 5:00pm
Event link: here

Two nights of glowing light artworks to wander through, nourishing food to warm you up and vibrant new musical performances to kick off the celebrations of the rising of the star cluster, Matariki! See colourful sculptures light up the park! Hear exotic instruments from all around the rohe and more! Taste local fare! Dress up warm and prepare to be bamboozled. It’s free and for the whole family so come and join us at Maclean Park, Paraparaumu beach for this special opening of our Matariki festival.

Light Artists:
Light Sculptures by Angus Muir, Erena Koopu, Delaney Davidson, Jane Hakaraia and more

Music: Orchestra of Spheres, Psychedelic afrobeat and Riot Grrrl pop singer Theia, Black Spider Stomp, DJ Lil Stiffy, Delaney Davidson.

Matariki Remembrance Garden:
Saturday July 3, 9am-10am in our Remembrance Garden bring along a photo of a loved one, a candle or an offering to leave and a chance to speak about someone special to you who has recently passed.

Matariki Kids Bike Light Parade:
A chance for kids of all ages to participate in festivities. Jazz up your bike with lights and dress to impress for a gentle ride along the colourfully lit beach path.



Matariki Morning Stargaze

Location: Kepler Track, Fiordland National Park, Manapouri, Fiordland

Date: Wednesday 7 July 2021

Time: 6:20am – 7:30am
Event link: here

Join us to celebrate Matariki and enjoy the dark skies of Fiordland with an early morning stargazing session followed by a social light breakfast.

Victoria Campbell, Kāi Tahu will lead a stargazing session and kōrero focused on viewing the Matariki star cluster in the sky before dawn. We will then share breakfast kai and a hot drink together.

See more about Matariki events at: https://www.matarikifestival.org.nz/

2022 Matariki Public holiday: Matariki will be New Zealand’s first public holiday that recognises Te Ao Māori from 2022 onwards, observed for the first time on Friday 24 June as a time for reflection and celebration.