Ukulele and kapa haka performances are just a couple of the entertainment activities taking place at the Te Iwa o Matariki Whānau Day.

Families are encouraged to come together and celebrate Matariki at this event on Saturday July 21 from 10am to 3pm.

Located at Teletubby Hill in Government Gardens, this celebration will include a range of free activities available all day alongside scheduled entertainment.

Brigitte Nelson, Rotorua Lakes Council arts and culture, manager markets, festivals and projects, says this is the first Matariki Whānau Day run by the council and was created as a key event on Rotorua's growing Matariki Calendar.


"There is going to be something for people of all ages so it's a great day out for families.

"Matariki is a time to gather with family and friends to reflect on the past, celebrate the present, and plan for the future.

"It is important to celebrate this special time of year - Te Tau Hou Māori, the Māori New Year – and have a better understanding of what it means in our community."

Activities include tamariki making their own kite on the craft table hosted by Rotorua Museum, then flying them with Matariki kites by locals Ray and Rosemary McCully.

Children can learn the traditional Māori game of Ki o Rahi – Taonga Tākaro.

Based on the Pūrākau (legend) of Rahitutakahina and the rescue of his wife Tiarakurapakewai, this team game is played on a circular field.

Children can also have a go on the Scream Giant inflatable slide or younger children can try out the bouncy roulette wheel.

A quieter zone will be available with some family favourites including giant jenga, giant connect four and corn dog.


Families can grab a Rotorua Museum Matariki Activity Trail and explore the Government Gardens while learning more about Matariki.

Completed entries will go in the draw to win a prize pack at the end of the school holidays.

Families can explore the redeveloped te reo playground by the rose gardens.

Scheduled events include kapa haka performances, face painting, a youth ukulele performance, Matariki Kiwi storytelling and free shared kai.

Other live performers will play on the stage throughout the day and roving acrobats will move around the crowds.

Brigette says the shared kai will include several stations providing soup, sausage sizzle, fruit and milk. People can bring their own snacks as well.

Parking is not available at the Energy Events Centre due to a large event, so park cars at the Lakefront or Hinemaru St and walk through to the event.

For more information on the Whānau Day contact Kathy Nicholls by emailing

Scheduled events
- 10am: Opening blessing followed by Horohoro School kap ahaka performance
- 10am – 12pm: Face painting
- 10.15am: Youth Ukulele performance
- 10.30am: Matariki Kiwi storytelling
- 11am: Free shared kai: Soup, sausage sizzle, drinks and fruit.
- 11.15am: Horohoro School kapa haka performance
- 12pm: Whakarewarewa kapa haka performance
- 1pm: Matariki Kiwi storytelling
- 3pm: Event concludes