A light installation at the Matariki festival at Wellington's waterfront. People bundled in jackets walk through the pink, blue and purple arch titled 'Nau mai, haere mai to Matariki ki Pōneke. Start your journey through our Waharoa'.

The reappearance of the star cluster Matariki (also known as Pleiades) and the rising of Puanga (also known as the star Rigel in Orion) is a special occasion in the New Zealand calendar.  It marks the start of the Māori New Year. It’s a time to reflect on the year that’s been and plan for the year ahead. 

A light projection show over Whairepo Lagoon celebrating Matariki in Wellington, New Zealand. The blue-white light forms a whale jumping into the water as a bright orb floats above.

Wellington City Council has organised a huge Matariki celebration for the waterfront. The event is in two parts. 

Matariki Ahi Kā runs 27 to 30 June, from 6pm to 9pm. It’s designed to be an immersive, self-led journey. There’ll be fire, projections, and live contemplative music performances on the specially constructed Aroha Stage. There’ll also be a ceremony to honour those who have died and to express hopes for the future. 

Mana Moana Pōneke runs alongside Ahi Kā as well as the two preceding weekends (15 to 16, and 22 to 23 June).  You will get to see indigenous short films projected on a misted water screen in Whairepo Lagoon. There are also story pits for live interactions, massive projections across the front walls of Te Papa, and stalls, buskers, and food trucks.

People gather and watch a light projection on the exterior of Te Papa at Wellington's waterfront to celebrate Matariki.