Matariki Festival returns to Tāmaki Makaurau for 2023

Matariki Festival returns to Tāmaki Makaurau for 2023 


Published: Tuesday 27 June, 2023

Te Kaunihera o Tāmaki Makaurau / Auckland Council and iwi partner Ngāti Whātua Ōrākei are pleased to announce the return of Matariki Festival for 2023 in July (11 - 22 July). 


The 11-day festival has been designed around the maramataka (the Māori calendar) to ensure that the kaupapa (purpose) of the season remains the focus.  


Matariki Festival offers a programme for Aucklanders and visitors of all ages be entertained, learn more about the world of te ao Māori across over 100 events and activities taking place throughout Tāmaki Makaurau. 


Auckland Mayor Wayne Brown is excited for all to attend. 


“We are proud to partner with Ngāti Whātua Ōrākei to present Matariki Festival,” he says. 


“This year, there are many free, whānau-friendly events where our communities can come together to reflect on and celebrate the Māori New Year, especially Umu Kohukohu Whetū which I will be attending.” 


Ngāti Whātua Ōrākei chair Marama Royal says Matariki is an important time in the maramataka (Māori calendar) and after the success of last year’s first public holiday, she is looking forward to seeing Aucklanders honouring the kaupapa (purpose) once again. 


“Matariki is a time of coming together. It is a time of reflection, honouring loved ones who have passed on and to prepare for the year ahead. 


“As tangata whenua of central Auckland, it was exciting last year to see our city really embrace Matariki, like never before. It was incredible to see so many people come together on our whenua Takaparawhau for the resurgence of the ancient practice of umu kohukohu whetū. We are looking forward to hosting this kaupapa once again to ensure that Matariki across our city is grounded in tikanga Māori. 

“Hikaia ngā ahi o Matariki 

“Hikaia ngā ahi o Te Kahu Tōpuni o Tuperiri” 

Marama encourages Aucklanders to explore different ways to participate in Matariki once again.  


“There are many ways to pause and reflect with loved ones this Matariki season, including a pourewa / planting day at Ngāti Whātua Ōrākei’s whenua Takaparawhau on 22 July to give back to Papatūānuku, who sustains us throughout the year.” 

Matariki Festival also provides an opportunity for Aucklanders and visitors to learn more. Consider attending the Umu Kohukohu Whetū to observe traditional practices that begins the Matariki period; learn the ahi kā / story of Ngāti Whātua Ōrākei with spectacular light and sound show with Vector Lights; and don’t miss Matariki Festival Day where you can think deeper through toi Māori and performances, seen with new eyes and with new understanding. 

Matariki Festival officially opens on 11 July with a special light and sound show with Vector Lights. Vector Lights and Matariki Festival are honoured to showcase iwi partners, Ngāti Whātua Ōrākei with their story of ahi kā in Tāmaki Makaurau that is grounded in tikanga and taonga tuku of Ngāti Whātua Ōrākei. The event begins at 5.30pm at Silo Park with Vector Lights switching on at 6pm and a special performance from Majic Paora (Ngāti Whātua, Te Aupōuri, Ngā Puhi) with her Matariki waiata. 


This year’s Matariki Festival will have over 100 events across Tāmaki Makaurau but will be held up by three pou (signature) events.  


Umu Kohukohu Whetū (14 July) is a pre-dawn ceremony led by Ngāti Whātua Ōrākei on their whenua Takaparawhau / Bastion Point. Come along and witness a Hau Tapu ceremony (sacred offering ceremony) – the offering of food and steam to the stars of Matariki from the umu or hāngī – and take part in the karakia that fill the morning skies as we come together to celebrate Matariki. The Ngāti Whātua Ōrākei Umu Kohukohu Whetū will take place at Takaparawhau / Bastion Point, from 5-9am. 


Matariki Festival Day (14 July), hosted by our venue partners Auckland Live, is set to take over the Auckland Town Hall! Celebrate Matariki through pūrākau (stories) with the Sandman, kai (food) with Mamas Hāngī, kōrerorero (discussions) with our panel interviews, toi Māori (art) with tawhiao7 and My Taiao, whare tapere (performance) from NZ Dance Company, kapa haka with Ngā Puna o Waiorea, and a soulful waiata session from Jordyn with a Why. Join us for a full afternoon of joy, remembrance and celebration from 12-6pm in the Great Hall and Aotea Square, Auckland Central. 


Manu Aute Kite Day (15 July) is a favourite with whānau. Manu aute and manu tukutuku (kites) were used by many iwi across Aotearoa to celebrate special occasions, send messages to the heavens and communicate between hapū. Ngāti Whātua Ōrākei honours these traditions with Manu Aute Kite Day, sending kites of all shapes and sizes to fill the skies above Tāmaki Makaurau. Join in to make and fly your own manu tukutuku or bring your own kite to send up to the sky. This year’s event is once again held at Takaparawhau / Bastion Point Ōrākei. Join in Manu Aute Kite Day at Takaparawhau, Ōrākei at 10am, 15 July, or at Puketāpapa / Mt Roskill at 11am on 16 July. 


View highlights of weeks one and two here and check out the full festival line-up at . Search for Matariki Festival events in your area with our interactive map on Our Auckland.  


Hikaia ngā ahi o Matariki 

Hikaia ngā ahi o Te Kahu Tōpuni o Tuperiri 

(Light the ceremonial fires of Matariki 

Light the ceremonial fires of Te Kahu Tōpuni o Tuperiri) 

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