For Horohoro School's kapa haka pupils, sharing their performance talents with the community this weekend is an exciting opportunity.

Families are encouraged to come together and celebrate Matariki at the Te Iwa o Matariki Whānau Day tomorrow 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.

Rotorua's Whare Clarke will be doing the storytelling - one of the scheduled entertainments.


Whare will be reading the book Little Kiwi's Matariki. He says it is a great way to connect with children.

"In my experience reading it in the past, I involve the children and make the bird sounds, and the children really engage with it and they think it's amazing the birds from the book are engaging with them."

Matua Whare is also a teacher at Horohoro School, and its kapa haka group will perform at the event.

He says when the group was asked to take part it happily accepted because the children wanted to support the museum.

The children were so excited to perform and their parents were also excited when he told them, he says.

Whare thinks it is important to celebrate Matariki and its history, as well as for people to be aware of the work the Rotorua Museum puts into the community and into bringing people together.

Children enjoy a game of corn dog. Photo/Supplied
Children enjoy a game of corn dog. Photo/Supplied

Activities throughout the day 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 have fun learning 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.

Exploring the Government Gardens is also an option for families, by grabbing a Rotorua Museum Matariki Activity Trail.

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

Families can also 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.

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 kapa haka 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