A celestial celebration, Matariki is a time-honoured occasion to celebrate with your nearest and dearest. It can be seen as a time for renewal, connection, and honouring life around us — while acknowledging those who have left us too, as per tradition. With this in mind (and the welcome extra day in our long weekend), we’ve consulted our agendas and discovered all of the cultural and dining events to uncover this weekend for those staying at home, and some for those that may be holidaying too. For an extensive list of everything going on in Auckland, the Matariki Festival directory has something for everyone at this fortuitous time of year. But in the interest of a more curated programme, here’s our edit.
Passa Passa x Toi o Tamaki Matariki Menu
Adding to Auckland Art Gallery’s burgeoning programme of Matariki’s events is a specialty menu, courtesy of Denizen favourite, Passa Passa. Having returned from a short hiatus, this marks Passa Passa’s first pop-up back in Auckland, where the menu has been inspired by the land. Dan will be slinging his signature pizza fritta, topped with local delicacies like creamy paua or kumara and watercress. Divine! More info can be found here.
IWA at Viaduct Harbour
Able to be viewed by the public from Viaduct Harbour’s Te Mata Topaki (the waterfront pier structure at 117 Customs Street West), IWA comprises nine illuminated buoys that float on the water in the formation of the Matariki stars and comes to life in a captivating audio-visual performance at 6pm and 8pm every evening until Sunday the 23rd of July. Discover all of the details behind this spectacular show here.
Ngā Whetū o te Tau Hou
Considering Matariki is a celebration written in the stars, Stardomes’s celebrations should be essential visiting this long weekend. Following three years of sell-out runs, the Epsom observatory’s annual Matariki celebrations return with a new show that explores the stars and stories of significance at this time of year. Bookings are essential and filling up fast — further details here.
A Seat at the Table with Chatham Island Food Co at Kingi
To celebrate this shift into the Māori New Year, The Hotel Britomart’s Kingi is hosting one of the most discerning dining experiences that draws inspiration from Kai Māori and the bounty of produce our waters offer. Hosted with Chatham Island Food Co, the menu is filled with delicacies like crayfish, black foot paua, kina, blue cod and even wild boar from the furthermost limits of our country. Having worked closely with Delwyn and Gigi Tuanui since the early days of Kingi, the restaurant has invited the duo behind the kaimoana over to speak candidly about their life on the island. Reservations are essential for this set menu and can be made here.
Te Tomokanga ki te Pō
At Silo Park, standing at an impressive 26 feet, this luminous waharoa is a captivating masterpiece that seamlessly blends artistry and spirituality, designed by artist Graham Tipene (Ngāti Whātua, Ngāti Kahu, Ngāti Hine, Ngāti Haua, Ngāti Manu) in collaboration with Hawke House, Angus Muir, Fresh Concept and Eke Panuku for Matariki on the Waterfront 2023. Find out more details here.
Marae in the Sky
This transcendent performance at the Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki was created exclusively for Matariki and takes place on Friday the 14th and Saturday the 15th of July. Directed and choreographed by the visionary Taane Mete, this immersive dance and music experience pays homage to the celestial mother star, Matariki, while celebrating hauora, hope, reflection, and the interconnectedness of all beings with nature. Discover all of the info here.
Matariki at Auckland Zoo
When the rain eases, Auckland Zoo offers the kind of Matariki celebration that families of all ages will love. With the new addition of self-directed activities, a celebration of our most precious wildlife, and the invitation to share food at Te Puna, it’s the perfect reason to take the kids in tow. Find out more about Matariki at Auckland Zoo here.
Auckland Matariki Festival Day
This inner-city celebration marries so much of what we love about our indigenous culture. Taking over Auckland Town Hall, there’ll be food, art, live performance, discussion panels and shopping from local Māori designers. Discover more about the celebration here.
Feast Matariki at Sage
For those taking the opportunity to head up north, the award-winning Sage is offering an exquisite four-course menu perfect for the occasion. Drawing inspiration from the world around us, the lunchtime feast is $80 per person, with a glass of Paroa Bay Wine and free transport to and from Russell; it makes for essential dining for anyone up north. More details are available here.