A Maori version of Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet and a no holds barred kapa haka will be part of this year's Maori New Year celebrations.
The Matariki festival begins on June 20 with a dawn karakia on Maungakiekie One Tree Hill. It will have more than 100 events and run until July 19.
The festival celebrates the rise of the Matariki constellation and signifies the start of Maori New Year.
Celebrations in Auckland were launched yesterday at the Auckland Museum with "The Long Hakari" or feast, featuring a menu created by Maori chefs Tu Fearn of Harbourside and Nancye Pirini of Novotel Auckland Airport.
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"Matariki 2015 is a celebration of community and iwi and an opportunity for people of all ages to take part in the festival and learn more about Maori culture," said Alf Filipaina, chair of Auckland Council's Arts and Culture Committee.
"This ancient Maori celebration and its traditions is a chance for Aucklanders to remind ourselves of the underlying principles of sharing, learning, feasting and festivity."
The festival will see the return of contemporary kapa haka competition, the Kapa Haka Super 12s, regional entertainment programme Matariki on the Move and concerts by Rob Ruha and the Black Quartet and singer-songwriter Ed Waaka. A highlight of the festival will be the world premiere of Shakespeare's greatest love story in te reo, Romeo raua ko Hurieta.