Pukekaaroa Hill, Auckland Domain:

You'll have to be up early to catch the blessing heralding of the start of Matariki, the Māori new year. Those who have passed will be remembered, those who remain will be encouraged to plan for the year ahead through karanga, karakia, waiata and kotahitanga (unity). Waikato-Tainui will lead the blessing followed by a light breakfast and entertainment. You'll need to wrap up and be fit enough to walk uphill. The karakia begins nearly a month of Matariki celebrations around the country. Check out

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Auckland Domain, Matariki Dawn Karakia, Saturday 6 - 10am.

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Auckland Town Hall:

There are a couple of ways to deal with winter – moan about the dark nights and frosty mornings or accept to truly enjoy the sun, you have to sometimes put up with the cold. Besides, winter has inspired some of the greatest creatives (no, we're not talking, again, about the Game of Thrones showrunners) like Tchaikovsky, Stravinsky and New Zealand composer Christopher Blake. Blake's work is based on photographer Robin Morrison's iconic image of an angel at the head of a churchyard in Northland's Ahipara and is described as "a beautiful evocation of desolation and hope". Quite a lot like this time of year, really.

Winter Daydreams, NZ Symphony Orchestra, Great Hall, Auckland Town Hall, Friday.

The Civic:

You've seen the advertisements, read the stories – maybe even the book – and heard the radio interviews, now it's time (finally) for War Horse to open in New Zealand. The winner of more than 25 international awards and the National Theatre of Great Britain's most successful show, the drama is filled with music, songs and the phenomenal puppets which actually look like breathing, galloping horses live on stage. Bring tissues, though, because it's based on Michael Morpurgo's novel about a boy, Albert, who sees his beloved horse sold to the Cavalry at the beginning of World War I and sent to the Western Front. Too young to enlist, Albert is nevertheless determined to keep his horse safe and embarks on a treacherous journey to do just that.

War Horse, the Civic, until Sunday, July 7.

Silo Theatre has a
Silo Theatre has a "powerhouse" cast of teens for The Wolves.

Q Theatre:

It's a rare thing indeed for a first-time playwright to receive a nomination for a Pulitzer Prize but that's exactly what happened to Brooklyn- based playwright Sarah DeLappe with her debut play The Wolves. It might not have won the Pulitzer, although it did receive a number of other awards, but it made critics and theatregoers alike sit up and take notice. Now DeLappe's "absorbing portrait" of female adolescence is on in Auckland courtesy of Silo Theatre who, for the first time in its history, have cast a powerhouse ensemble of teenage performers to portray nine young people – "achievers and burnouts, insiders and outsiders, best friends and vicious bullies" – in this frank and funny portrayal of modern teen life.

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The Wolves, Loft at Q Theatre, until Saturday, July 13.

Flying Out:

Auckland indie guitar slinger and artist Will Saunders celebrates the release of his new EP All That Has Ever Been with an instore performance and exhibition at Pitt Street's Flying Out record store on Saturday. Saunders (The Quick & the Dead, Bearhat, The Lowest Fidelity) will showcase - and sell - his original underground comic art from his Shlipp Comix series, which was first produced during the mid-90s before a third issue surfaced in 2018. Most works on sale (through to June 30) feature Saunders' creepy black ink pen sequential comic stories on A3 paper along with acrylic paintings.

Will Saunders instore performance & exhibition, Flying Out, 4pm Saturday.