Event organisers are hailing the 2018 Matariki ki Mauao celebrations held this week as a success.

Awhina August, general manager of the Te Puna i Rangiriri Trust, said about 2000 people had taken advantage of trust's week-long celebrations held in the campground at the base of Mauao.

"It has been an amazing week of learning and discovery for everyone, especially the young children who came through our series of workshops for schools," she said.

That included learning about flax weaving to traditional Māori instruments, celestial navigation, tours to the springs of Mauao, and the effects of plastics in the ocean.


August said this year over a 1000 students from 29 schools in the Western Bay of Plenty and one from Rotorua attended the workshops held at the Mauao campground.

"This is the fourth year we have held these celebrations and each year our programme of events and the numbers of people who attend get bigger, which is exactly what we want.

"Our Matariki celebrations are about creating a community platform for people to access knowledge and learn more about the cultural richness of our language and traditions."

August said this year the theme was wai (water) and mauri (life force).

"This event is also about inclusiveness," August said.

The market day had food stalls, displays, games and music.

Parents and children from Te Kohanga Reo Whareroa were selling fried rewana bread, which was popular.

Mount Maunganui mother Toni Vermeeren said the Matariki celebrations were "cool" and educational for everybody, including her five children who were attending for the first time.


Vanessa Oxley, accompanied by her daughters Maia, 10, and Waimea, 8, from Pāpāmoa, said this was the second year they had attended.

"It's a great way to celebrate Matariki. Both my daughters attend a total immersion kura in Matapihi and events like this help to reinforce what they've taught at school," she said.

Maia said she always looked forward to Matariki and was "excited' to get a moko which she and her sister sometimes wore during their kapa haka events at school.

During yesterday's market day people were also given the chance to plant hundreds of native plants near the bottom of Mauao by Tauranga City Council.

Matariki - Maori New Year: Matariki (the Pleiades) star cluster twinkles in the winter sky just before dawn. Traditionally, the rise of Matariki was a sign to ensure food crops had been harvested and the storehouses well-stocked for the coming year.