The annual Te Aute College Matariki Festival is growing in popularity, attracting hundreds of people to the celebrations held on Friday, June 10 this year.

The school venue, where the event has been hosted since 2014, was awash with families enjoying the start of the Maori New Year.

Organised by the school, Te Taitimu Trust and Ngati Kahungunu, and supported by Te Puni Kokiri, the night featured a range of musical and dance acts including Hastings rap artist Tipene Harmer, singer-songwriter Toni Huata, Rezpect Dance Academy from Hastings and Central Hawke's Bay schools Te Aute College, The Terrace and Pukehou.

Te Aute College students added their voices to the event.
Te Aute College students added their voices to the event.

Te Taitimu Trust founder Zack Makoare said the warm evening helped create an "awesome" event with a great atmosphere that was topped off at the end with a spectacular fireworks display.

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He gave an extra thanks to the CHB Maori Wardens who attended.

Ngati Kahungunu has organised another free Matariki event in Takapau this Saturday starting at 5pm at Takapau School.

Matariki (Pleiades) is a group of seven stars that appear on the eastern horizon in the pre-dawn sky from late May to June each year.