Despite the rain, it feels like there’s something a little more magical about the night sky of late, thanks to the arrival of Matariki; the star cluster that not only illuminates the night sky, but marks the beginning of the new year in the Māori lunar calendar.
For centuries, Matariki has been a time where people come together to celebrate with food, drink, music and company. At a time of year when many of us retreat indoors, we think it’s the perfect time to celebrate our country’s vibrant culture. With this year offering the first official Matariki public holiday, there’s all the more reason to mark the occasion by delving into the culture that surrounds the Māori new year.
Here, we’ve rounded up a handful of the events on the Denizen radar for Matariki, each one offering an immersive, educational and engrossing experience that speaks to this incredibly special time.
Discover Whānau Mārama at Commercial Bay
From the 18th of June until the 10th of July, Commercial Bay’s exhibition programme will celebrate Māori arts and culture for Matariki. Curated by Jade Townsend, Whānau Mārama brings together a roster of exceptional contemporary Māori artists and researchers in the name of deepening our collective understanding of the Māori new year. With Townsend reprising her role at the helm of this exciting initiative, the gallery at which she is co-director (alongside Francis McWhannell) Season, will act as the precinct’s Whānau Mārama hub, where visitors can expect information, activities and tours, alongside an exquisite exhibition of its own, Heavenly Bodies by Maungarongo Te Kawa.
In this year’s rendition, the exhibition features 12 indigenous artworks across the stores and laneways that make up Commercial Bay. Some of the highlights of this year include Ron Te Kawa’s (Ngāti Porou) work Hinetakarua, a large scale textile hanging in Wheriko laneway and e Ara Minhinnick’s (Ngāti Te Ata) exhibits Mō Rātou Mā sculpture and audio work at Yu Mei, alongside Dr Bobby Luke (Ngāti Ruanui, Taranaki) as the artist-in-residence at NOOK, transforming the pop-up space into artistic prompts of decolonising fashion aesthetics, empowering women in their individuality and inspiring creativity through sentimental design.
Whānau Mārama is a free exhibition, with art tours running daily at 12:10pm from Season Gallery.
Illuminate Matariki Concert Series
Around the city, you’ll soon discover song everywhere, with the Illuminate Matariki Concert Series coming to life in public spaces across Auckland over the week ahead. From the 24th of June until the 3rd of July, the finest pianists in the city will perform at their favourite locations, from large cathedrals to intimate parks. The free series of innovative twilight concerts embrace digital technology, where the piano’s keys inspire a captivating light show, genuinely unique to the moment.
Explore the 2022 Matariki Festival Lineup
This special annual event is returning with a lineup that celebrates and showcases our rich culture, offering experiences over the next month that cater to all ages and interests. With more than 80 events tied to the programme, from live theatre to light displays, the city-wide event is the perfect place to dive deeper into Māori culture at this sacred time of year.
Go Matariki Stargazing at Stardome
Talking to the history of this memorable holiday, Stardome is opening its doors for free to allow families to take in the splendour of the Matariki nights. Matariki on the Move is a unique programme to showcase the delights of Matariki skies, accompanied by a live score from Māori DJs and musicians. These specially curated nights open the wonders of the night sky, but bookings are essential to secure your place.