Matariki celebrations in Te Matau-a-Māui

When the Pleiades star cluster – known as Matariki – appears in the New Zealand sky, it signals the start of a new year.

For Māori, the emergence of Matariki marks the passing of one year and the start of another. It’s a time to remember lost loved ones and celebrate new beginnings, as well as being a period of reflection and regeneration - learn more.

Happy New Zealand new year!

In 2024, the Matariki public holiday is observed on Friday 28 June.
Events will run Friday 14 June to Saturday 29 June. This page will be updated with further event details as they become available.


Monday 24 June - Friday 28 June

Whānau Marama: Light Show

Learn about Te Whānau Marama - Family of Light and the traditional star compass used by navigators for wayfinding across the Pacific Ocean. A Matariki sensory experience like no other.

6.00pm, 6.30pm, 7.00pm, 7.30pm, 8.00pm
$10, tickets are available from matariki.events
Ātea a Rangi, Waitangi Park, SH51, Awatoto, Napier


Friday 14 June

Matariki Whakanuia ki Tamatea: Celebrate Matariki in Central Hawke's Bay

Kai, entertainment, remembrance and fireworks. Dress up warm to energise the soul and warm the senses in the chill of winter to celebrate Matariki. Russell Park will come alive as a place of connection, remembrance and renewal for all. Come share this special time of the year with us in Waipukurau.

Free entry. 6.00pm to 8.00pm 
Russell Park, 10 River Terrace, Waipukurau


Wednesday 19 June

Matariki Tāpuapua: The Pools of Matariki

Write a message of remembrance, reflection and gratitude on a lantern. Witness hundreds of lanterns reflecting on the water. One free lantern per family. These are biodegradable
Kai trucks on site. Acoustic entertainment.

6.00pm to 9.00pm 
The Pond, Flaxmere Park, Henderson Road, Flaxmere, Hastings


Friday 21 June

Matariki Whakanuia ki Te Wairoa: Wairoa celebrates Matariki

Kai, entertainment, remembrance and fireworks. Dress up warm to energise the soul and warm the senses in the chill of winter to celebrate Matariki on Friday 21 June.

​The Wairoa Community Centre will come alive with Kai so find a table, pull up a seat and join us at this national celebration with live entertainment, and a place of connection, remembrance and renewal for all.

There’s singers, dancers, kapa haka and bands. The finale is a spectacular fireworks display in Alexandra Park.

Free entry. 6.00pm to 8.00pm 
Wairoa Community Centre, Alexandra Park, Marine Parade, Wairoa


Friday 21 June

Matariki Ahuriri

Napier, let’s celebrate Matariki together!
Join us on Friday 21 June as we give you the full Matariki experience. Napier will be lit up by the 9 stars of Matariki, there will be performances, storytelling, kai and more!

We have an exciting line-up of entertainment including performances from Kahurangi Dance Company, Maraenui Bi-lingual School, Te Kura Kaupapa o Te Ara Hou, Te Tini o Orotu and EIT Kapa Haka Group. Enjoy Flames of Plenty lighting up the streets with glow shows, storytelling by Pereri King and spot prizes to be given away!

For kai, we’ve got you covered with an array of fantastic food trucks on-site with delicious offerings from Paella a go go, Mac Daddy, Peg & Pickle, Wombos, Seas Up, Boost BBQ, Boost Espresso, Hapi, Mr Whippy, Lil Donuts and Shani’s Coffee.

Tennyson and Hastings Streets will be buzzing with activity, so come on down from 5.30pm – 8.30pm and join us for a special night of Aroha, Manaaki, Whānau and Kai.

Free entry. 5.30pm to 8.30pm 
Corner of Tennyson and Hastings Streets


Tuesday 25 June - Wednesday 26 June

Matariki @ Waiaroha: Hīkoi of Remembrance

Join us for a Hīkoi of remembrance on 25 and 26 June from 6pm to 9pm each evening. Create a waka lantern with a personal message of healing and remembrance. Join the hīkoi to Ngā Pou o Heretaunga in Civic Square, and then return to Waiaroha to float your lantern in the water.

Be entertained by captivating storytelling, special performances, and fun kids' activities in the whare.
Plus, enjoy delicious treats from kai trucks, live music, and more

Free entry. 6.00pm-9.00pm
Waiaroha - Heretaunga Water Discovery Centre, Southampton Street, Hastings


Thursday 27 June

Matariki - Whangai I Te Hautapu - Hau Ahi

Pre-dawn ceremony in three parts to observe the stars, call the names of those who passed, and making a food offering to the Matariki star cluster in the form of steam rising to the skies.

Public are welcome to send the full name of a loved one or friend who passed since the last Matariki, to be called aloud in the pre-dawn ceremony. All welcome to be included, send email to terangi@kahungunu.iwi.nz. In the subject, adding MAIMAI AROHA - Name of person to be called aloud.

Free entry, 6.00am to 7.00am 
546 Marine Parade, Napier (next to the National Aquarium of New Zealand)


Friday 28 June

Kai Hau Kai Matariki: Celebrate Matariki Hastings

Kai, entertainment, remembrance and fireworks. Dress up warm to re-enrgise the soul and warm the senses in the chill of winter at the second public holiday to celebrate Matariki.

Free entry, 6.00pm to 9.00pm 
Hawke's Bay Regional Sports Park, Percival Road, Hastings


Saturday 29 June

Matariki Mahuika: Storytelling around the fire

Gather around the fires as a storyteller shares tales of old. Waka maimai aroha (lantern) procession - write a message of remembrance, reflection and gratitude on a lantern and launch into Manga Pacific – Te Toka Tu Moana fountain. One free lantern per family. These are biodegradable.

Kai trucks on site. 

Free entry. 6pm to 9pm Saturday 29 June. 
546 Marine Parade, Napier (next to the National Aquarium of New Zealand)


The ancient wisdom of Matariki

According to the most common Māori legend, when the sky father Ranginui and earth mother Papatūānuku were parted by their children, the god of wind became so enraged he tore out his eyes and hurled them at the heavens to create Matariki. Traditionally, Māori marked the appearance of the stars – and the start of their lunar calendar – by remembering those who had died, sowing seeds for crops and celebrating with feasts and the lighting of ritual fires. Spiritual experts known as tohunga interpreted the stars to predict the weather: clear, bright stars meant a warm, abundant season ahead. In modern New Zealand, Matariki is seen as a time to take stock and face the coming year with renewed vigour.