Thousands of people in Northland are expected to turn out this weekend to celebrate the second official Matariki public holiday/long weekend.
A range of events across Te Tai Tokerau will be held to mark te Mātahi o te Tau (the Māori New Year) from Friday through to Sunday.
One of the Far North’s largest events Matariki Ki Ahipara is back, with organisers predicting a larger turnout than its 2022 debut.
Matariki Ki Ahipara spokesperson Lennox Goodhue-Wikitera said Ahipara Aroha’s dedicated Matariki team was excited to offer another year of free Matariki festivities for the community.
“We’ve been planning this for months and have lots of learnings from last year, like ensuring [we] space out activities so people don’t miss out on anything,” Goodhue-Wikitera said.
“We invite everyone to celebrate with us our culture and Ahipara, with lots of great events planned and a little something for everyone.
“It’s all free and community-organised too, so bring the whānau and enjoy the weekend.”
The three-day event will feature a range of arts, entertainment, a mountain hikoi (walk/trek), kids’ activities, history and kai (food).
Last year’s event attracted more than 1000 people, with this year expected to well exceed that number.
Goodhue-Wikitera said despite receiving less funding this year, organisers had managed to keep the festival free thanks to sponsorship from local businesses, fundraising and leftover funds from 2022.
Heading to the Mid North, as part of the Pēwhairangi Bay of Islands Matariki Celebrations, the much-anticipated Te Tau Hou Māori - The Māori New Year celebration at the Paihia Waterfront will also be back on again this Friday.
The waterfront is expected to be buzzing with music, storytellers and kapa haka from 4pm, with the Paihia Village Green offering delicious street food, arts, crafts and music.
A special Puanga Matariki display will start at 7pm and will go for around 20 minutes.
The celebration’s story, written and narrated by Ngati Kawa Taituha and Heeni Hoterene, will be told and accompanied by beautiful taonga pūoro (Māori instruments) and waiata.
The waka, lights and fireworks will also be choreographed to the narration.
Festival director Jackie Sanders said Matariki was about spending time with those you love, remembering those you have lost, sharing knowledge, food and making plans for the future.
“With the Matariki public holiday falling within the school holidays this year, we have made sure we have plenty of whānau-friendly activities to enjoy,” Sanders said.
The free community event was a hit last year and is also expected to be another big success in 2023.
Further south, Whangarei will host a range of Matariki events this long weekend, including a Matariki Puanga Dawn event at the Hundertwasser Art Centre with Wairau Māori Art Gallery and Matariki at Planetarium North.
The small coastal township of Matapouri is expected to come alive with people on Friday as it holds two dedicated Matariki-related events.
Celebrating Puanga Matariki Day is an online and in-person event being held at the Matapouri Hall from midday.
The event will acknowledge the past, celebrate the present and plan for the coming future, and offer a range of food stalls and other activities.
Behind the renowned Matapouri Bay Store, Ocean & Teale Haere Mai Te Kai and the Kerurū Lounge will also be serving up a range of Māori kai, hāngī and pizzas.
The event will be the first time Carla and Charlie Mackie from Ocean & Teale Haere Mai Te Kai have opened after some time off.
The couple said they were looking forward to creating a good experience for the community.
“We’re hoping it will be a lot of fun for the kids and whānau, with live music, entertainment and a ground hāngī,” Carla said.
“We’re aiming to start at lunchtime, and expect it’s going to be a very busy day!”
The Government’s Matariki Ahunga Nui fund of just over $3 million was designed to support Māori communities in the delivery of Te Kāhui o Matariki-focused initiatives to regenerate mātauranga Matariki and to align with the celebration of the public holiday.
Almost 120 applicants were successful in receiving the Matariki Ahunga Nui funding, including 18 from Te Taitokerau, who received more than $500,000.
Associate Minister for Arts, Culture and Heritage Willow-Jean Prime said the Government was privileged to support events across Te Taitokerau and that many thoughtful and high-quality applications had demonstrated a deep aroha for Matariki.
She said despite not everyone being successful, it was exciting to see such enthusiasm.
“Unfortunately, the fund was heavily oversubscribed, showing the widespread desire to celebrate and regenerate mātauranga Matariki,” Prime said.
“Which is why as part of Budget 2023, the Government announced a further $18m over four years to build on last year’s initial momentum and to see expanded public awareness and understanding of Matariki.”
According to Te Papa, all iwi across the motu celebrate this special time of year in either June or July.
Matariki isn’t universally observed, however, due to a variety of reasons, including the fact the cluster of stars is not visible to everyone in Aotearoa New Zealand.
In the Far North, Puanga is the star most commonly looked to by the iwi there and is otherwise known as Rigel - the brightest star in the Orion constellation.
Matariki can be found below Puanga and to the left of Tautoru (the three stars of Orion’s Belt) in the late autumn and early winter night sky.
Matariki weather for July 14-16
In terms of weather, this year’s long weekend is shaping up to be better than 2022, which featured a fair amount of heavy rain.
National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research (Niwa) meteorologist Seth Carrier said the weather in Northland wasn’t looking too bad, with the highest chance of rain on Friday, but clearer skies for the weekend.
“It’s not a washout, but there’s just a chance we’ll see scattered showers across Friday, with dry periods in between and somewhat gusty winds ranging up to 60km/h or more,” Carrier said.
“The good news is that Saturday and Sunday look better, with a chance of isolated showers on Saturday in the west of the region, but definitely less wind and gusts only up to 40km/h.
“Sunday is looking pretty good overall, with maybe isolated afternoon showers.”
Northland Matariki events
2023 Ahipara Ki Matariki
Friday/Rāmere July 14 (Hōngongoi)
- Opening Karakia: 5.30am-6.00am, Paripari Reserve.
- Parakuihi/Breakfast: 7am-8.30am, Te Rarawa Rugby Club.
- Te Rarawa Tuturu Kids’ Holiday Jam: 8am-3pm, Te Rarawa Rugby clubrooms and grounds.
- Whakaatu Toi Local Art Exhibition: 6pm - 10pm, Ahipara Golf Club.
Saturday/Rāhoroi July 15 (Hōngongoi)
- Hikoī Hitori O Ahiparapara: Walk to the summit of Whangatauatia and listen to John Paitai speak about the history of Ahiparapara. Park and leave from Te Rarawa Rugby Club. 9.30am-12.30pm. NB. Please arrive at the Te Rarawa Rugby Club Rooms before departure & register online for health and safety purposes here: https://docs.google.com/.../1FAIpQLSeU27R8hukyPX.../viewform.
- Hāngī for sale at the Rugby Club after the hikoī from 1pm-2pm.
- Mahi Rongoā With Aunty Kumeroa Gregory: 1pm-3pm, Ahipara Bible Chapel (next to Bidz).
- Hui Taurima o Whetu Festival of Stars, night market, music, kids’ activities and more from 5.30pm-10.30pm.
Sunday/Rātapu July 16 Hōngongoi
- Karakia and combined church service (all denominations): 10am-1pm, Roma Marae.
- Ahipara Market: 10am-2pm, Makete Ki Paripari Market on Foreshore Road.
- Karakia Whakamutunga: 2.30pm, Roma Marae.
To find out more, visit the Ahipara Ki Matariki Facebook page.
Matariki Pēwhairangi Bay of Islands
Journey to the Bay of Islands (Pēwhairangi) this June and July to celebrate Puanga Matariki in one of Aotearoa’s most culturally significant and magnificent regions.
The Bay of Islands Matariki Festival will run over the months of June and July, with the official date recognised on Friday, June 24. The festival will feature over 30 free and ticketed events around the area, with amazing cultural experiences, delicious kai [food], waiata [music] and mahi toi [artwork], all delivered with a generous helping of Northland manaakitanga.
For more information, follow the Matariki Pēwhairangi Bay of Islands Facebook page.
Celebrating Puanga Matariki Day- Matapouri Hall
Celebrating Puanga Matariki Day is an online and in-person event being held at the Matapouri Hall from midday. For more information, contact firstname.lastname@example.org or follow the Facebook event page.
Matariki Whānau Day hosted by Ocean & Teale and Kerurū Lounge, Matapouri Bay Store
Enjoy Māori kai, pizzas and live entertainment. For more information, visit the Ocean & Teale Facebook page.
Puanga Matariki Festival Whangārei
Events over the next few days include:
Friday/Rāmere, July 14 from 6.00am - 9.30am
Matariki Puanga Dawn: Celebrate Puanga and Matariki with Hundertwasser Art Centre and Wairau Māori Art Gallery at this free community event.
View the star constellations with telescopes, with compliments from Planetarium North, up on the rooftop garden.
Friday/Rāmere, July 14 and Saturday/Rāhoroi, July 15
Parihaka Waka Ama Club and Pakikaikutu haukainga are holding a two-day event to celebrate Matariki.
Competitive long-distance waka ama racing will take place on Friday, followed by a free whānau event on Saturday. Everyone is welcome.
There will be plenty to do at the whānau day, including cultural iho tākaro games, storytelling and kai, and you can and have a go at waka ama.
Saturday/Rāhoroi, July 15
At Planetarium North, you can look up even during a thunderstorm and see the stars and constellations in their full glory. It is a realistic projection of the night sky in a fully indoor dome ceiling.
Find out more about the whole festival and other events at wdc.govt.nz.
Eventfinda’s 2023 Matariki events in Northland
For a range of Puanga/Matariki events this weekend and beyond, visit Eventfinda’s Matariki Events 2023 in Northland page.