Celebrating Matariki? Here’s where to honour the Māori New Year this weekend

Matariki, the Māori name for the star cluster also known as the Pleiades, signals the start of the Māori New Year. The date changes every year, following the lunar calendar rather than the European calendar. Traditionally, Māori engaged in a week-long Matariki celebration which commenced once the Matariki star cluster had risen during specific lunar phases— an astrological event that will begin this week on Friday 2nd July. Viaduct Harbour honours the event in a number of wonderful ways each year, and 2024 is no different — with a full rota of cultural happenings to partake in. Here, we round up everything happening at the cultural hub this Māori new year.

Matariki Cultural Happenings
Visit Tuhirangi Blair and Angus Muir’s striking sculpture — Paunga
Tuhirangi Blair & Angus Muir’s striking installation, Paunga

As has become tradition, once again, the vibrant Viaduct Harbour is unveiling an immersive lighting installation in acknowledgement of this year’s Matariki ki te Manawa celebrations. Conceived by London-based Kiwi creative director Tuhirangi Blair (Ngāti Whātua, Ngāi Tūhoe, Ngāti Awa) in collaboration with lauded local installation artist Angus Muir, the immersive display offers a creative exploration of the Māori concept of timekeeping through celestial navigation — to stunning effect. 

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Matariki Cultural Happenings
Celebrate the impressive wāhine of Viaduct Harbour with the Whaea campaign
Viaduct Harbour’s ‘WHAEA’ campaign, featuring Soul Bar & Bistro’s Olivia Carter, Ngāti Whātua Ōrākei’s Tarati Blair-Hunt & Hello Beasty’s Emma Rogan

In celebration of Matariki ki te Manawa, Viaduct Harbour presents ‘WHAEA’ – a campaign that shines light on the extraordinary wāhine in the Viaduct Harbour community, developed by London-based Māori Creative Director Tuhirangi Blair (Ngāti Whātua, Ngāi Tūhoe, Ngāti Awa).

Captured on 35mm film by photographer Leilani Heather and video by Rob Byrne, WHAEA (Aunty) celebrates the inspiring female leaders who are carrying forward Viaduct Harbour’s legacy and shaping the future of the precinct, featuring Tarati Blair-Hunt (Ngāti Whātua Ōrākei), Olivia Carter (Soul Bar & Bistro) and Emma Rogan (Hello Beasty).

The three-part series will focus on the following themes: ‘Hope & Aspiration’, ‘New Beginnings’ and ‘Brighter Future’, and can be found on Viaduct Harbour’s YouTube channel, to be shared and enjoyed throughout the Matariki period.

Matariki Dining Experiences
Soul’s Matariki Set Menu
Highlights from Soul Bar & Bistro’s Matariki set menu — Left: Malfy cocktails, watermelon sugar high & chocolate negroni. Right: yellowfin tuna crudo

Viaduct Harbour stalwart Soul has a few things up their sleeves for the long weekend, from convivial cocktail specials to a host of delectable new menu items to a set menu and more, with the lovely team waving the public holiday surcharge for Matariki weekend. On the Matariki set menu, diners will find a bespoke Malfy cocktail and two courses for a modest $65. Here, there are four drinks to choose from, from a Chocolate Negroni to a quenching watermelon and citrus delight, served alongside two courses of Soul’s typically delectable fare. The Yellowfin Tuna Crudo with wasabi, pear, daikon, and ponzu is a great place to start, while the Milk Braised Pork with casarecce, chilli, and sourdough crumb is our pick of mains.

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Matariki Dining Experiences
Matariki at Bivacco
Carvery station at Bivacco’s Sunday Feast

Open all weekend long, and unveiling a newly upgraded outdoor dining area just in time for Matariki, Bivacco is a more than perfect spot to celebrate the Māori New Year. The eatery’s waterfront outside seating area has been updated with a series of weather-proof drop-downs making the coveted space usable year-round, allowing diners to take in the exquisite view without the chill of winter. The infamous Sunday Feast is also running this weekend, with unlimited plates from the elevated buffet on offer for $85 per person, with new dishes joining the fold, and $15 cocktails specials inspiring discerning diners to make a day of it.

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Matariki Dining Experiences
The Pantry’s Matariki Dinner
Lamb Shanks at the Park Hyatt’s The Pantry

Marking the Māori New Year and the beginning of a new cycle, Park Hyatt’s The Pantry is encouraging Aucklanders to come together and foster connection and community with a shared feast. On the menu you’ll find delicious, Māori-inspired dishes, from Lamb Shanks with kumara puree, broccolini, and kawakawa gremolata to Kumara Bites, Battered Mussels with lemon and malt vinegar mayo, and a tasty Pear and Rhubarb Trifle with manuka honey crème.

Secure your spot here


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