Rotorua is a hive of colour and activity this evening as families trail their way around town for Matariki and the annual Colour the Night festival.

It is a free evening of arts, crafts, music and performance, organised by The Arts Village.

The Colour the Night trail includes a pop-up theatre in Eruera St, dance performances at Lakes Performing Arts Company, music at the Monarch Room, fire dancers at the Night Market, storytelling and blackout poetry at Te Aka Mauri and a range of crafts activities at The Arts Village, Children's Art House and Te Runanga Tea Rooms.

Now in its third year, Colour the Night is a way to celebrate midwinter and have fun in some Rotorua spaces that might otherwise go unexplored.


Coinciding for the first year with Matariki (Māori New Year), some of the Colour the Night activities are taking on a special meaning as they incorporate the story of Pleiades - the cluster of stars that rises in midwinter.

Rotorua's Dale Campbell said they knew artist Glenys Courtney-Strachan who had her HangaToru project in the UV room at The Arts Village, so they went to check that out first.

She said Colour the Night was a great initiative in the school holidays.

Ruby Campbell, 11, (left) and Grace Coveney, 11, check out the artwork in the UV room at The Arts Village. Photo / Ben Fraser
Ruby Campbell, 11, (left) and Grace Coveney, 11, check out the artwork in the UV room at The Arts Village. Photo / Ben Fraser

"It's free events for families to go to and it's in the evening when working parents can engage with their kids in the holidays."

Grace Coveney, 11, said she liked how the UV room was bright and looked nice with all the colours.

"I like how they put all the names in English and Māori on the shapes so you can learn."

Ruby Campbell, 11, said the UV room was something different that you did not see every day.

She said it was cool how the colours were neon, and how the white also really showed.


Mary-Beth Acres, director at The Arts Village, said Colour the Night was a magical midwinter treat and this year was a fantastic showcase for Rotorua's many amazing arts spaces, and talented artists and performers.

"We are so hyped and are anticipating the biggest year ever for Colour the Night."

Acres said she was excited about all the venues and activities.

The fact the village could pull off this event as a small, non-profit team was fantastic, and Acres was beyond proud.

She said more than 150 volunteers and artists were involved, along with more than 25 funding and community partners.

There were 10 venues, 22 free activities and they were expecting well over 2500 people to come through, she said.