Celebrating Matariki the right way was all the motivation the Māoriland Charitable Trust needed to create a large scale lights and arts event for the whole district.
Māoriland Charitable Trust, the organisation responsible for Ōtaki's Māoriland Film Festival, is presenting Matariki, Lighting the Beacons Festival, a month-long multi-disciplinary arts festival to be held across Kāpiti from July 2-25.
Bookended by two public light sculpture events at the beginning and end of July, Lighting the Beacons includes music, arts and theatre as well as multiple community events such as beach clean-ups and tree planting.
With submissions for the light sculptures now closed, it can be revealed Angus Muir, a renowned lighting designer from Auckland whose works feature in light festivals all around the world, will be bringing his works to Kāpiti.
"We feel really strongly about how great it is that Matariki will be a national holiday from next year and we want to front that with celebrating it in the right way," said event producer Dylan Herkes.
"We want it to be tikanga led and inclusive at the same time, creative and to a high quality.
"We're busy preparing to make this festival something incredibly special for Kāpiti and having Angus will put it up there with light festivals around the country.
"We want to help bring the tikanga of Matariki into an understood and celebrated part of living here in the Pacific and the artfulness of our living, breathing contemporary culture."
Matariki is the Māori tradition that marks the rising of the star cluster also known as Pleiades.
Matariki signals the beginning of Te Tau Hou Māori, the new year, and is a time for commemorating the passing of loved ways as well as making plans for the coming year.
It is also a time for celebration.
"Matariki, Lighting the Beacons festival aims to bring together Kāpiti from Paekākāriki to Ōtaki, it will give artists an opportunity to perform, sing, show their creative and visual art talents, and for those with deep knowledge of Māori astronomy, gardening and other traditions to share what they know.
"We invite our community to be a part of this unique time of the year in Aotearoa."
Other community events that are relevant and want to be involved over the month of activities are welcome to submit an application for their event to be part of the festival.
Matariki, Lighting the Beacons festival will include free and ticketed events for the entire whānau to be part of.
A selection of the best films from the Māoriland Film Festival will be shown at Paekākāriki's St Peters Hall, Waikanae's Shoreline Cinema and Ōtaki's Civic Theatre along with music, light sculptures, theatre, panel talks, beach clean-ups, tree planting are more throughout the month of July.