The Sky Tower and other Auckland landmarks were lit up tonight in an array of colours to celebrate Maori New Year, Matariki.

Auckland Museum, the eastern wall of the Viaduct Harbour and the Auckland Town Hall were among other buildings to be illuminated in recognition of the three-week festival.

Auckland Council, which organised the spectacle, said the Sky Tower was bathed in colours reminiscent of the breaking dawn. It would remain so until June 22.

A light show emanating from Aotea Square shone images from a host of Kiwi artists onto the town hall, while from the Viaduct a golden glow was cast across Auckland Harbour.

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Photo / Chris Loufte
Photo / Chris Loufte

The Auckland Museum and the new Te Ara I Whiti, which runs from Upper Queen St to Victoria St were also lit up, in the theme of the Matariki star cluster, along with another 14 buildings and landmarks.

"This year, thanks to the huge support from local businesses and organisations getting in behind the Matariki Festival, we're able to bring this beautiful sunrise colour to life throughout the city and start the festival on a bright note," says Auckland councillor Cathy Casey.

"The colour is significant because at this time of year the Matariki constellation rises in the north east near the same point on the horizon as the sun. "

Auckland building owners and managers were encouraged to join the festivities and light up to join the festivities celebration.

Matariki refers to a star cluster otherwise known as the Pleiades which emerge in the winter sky just before dawn.

Traditionally, it was a time for remembering the dead, and celebrating new life, according to the Te Ara Encyclopedia of New Zealand.