Ngāti Kahungunu's Matariki Whānau Festival will be something of a low-key event on Friday evening, thanks to Covid-19.

However, Kahungunu events team member Melodie Grace says as always it will be a time of remembrance.

"The matariki festival won't be as big as it has been in previous years, but it will still be a time to remember our loved ones who have gone.

"This year's festival has been shortened as a lot of people are unsure of attending big gatherings, but it will be hard and fast."


However, there will still be the spectacular fireworks display that is a real highlight each year.

Grace said there will be a maumahara when a video remembering whānau who have passed away will be shown on a giant outdoor screen.

The festival will again be held at the Dannevirke A&P Showgrounds with the gates opening at 4.30pm.

The maumahara will take place at 6pm and will take around 10 minutes and will be followed by the fireworks display.

While there won't be any big name entertainers this year a DJ will provide music and there will be food and drink available.

"There will be food and drink vendors and there will be a pre-sold hangi."

Among the food vendors will be Orbit Donuts from Waipukurau, the Taniwaka seafood truck that will serve kina, raw fish and seafood salads and hopes to also have paua fritters on the menu and Kate's coffee cart.

Grace said community groups had been invited to set up fundraising food stalls.


The Dannevirke High School sports committee will be serving up steak sandwiches and nachos as their fundraiser.

Grace hopes things will have returned to normal for next year's event.

"Each year our Matariki Whānau Festival just gets bigger and bigger and last year's was the biggest we've ever held."

As there is no cancellation date Grace said fingers were crossed that the weather would co-operate.

"But the only thing that would stop the festival going ahead would be severe wind and snow."

This community event is open to everyone and entry is free.