Matariki rising in Tauranga Moana

The Tauranga Moana Matariki Festival 2017 runs this year from May 24 to June 25. The seven poupou on The Strand created by carver James Tapiata to represent Matariki. File Photo

‘Ka puta Matariki ka rere Whanui. Ko te tohu tena o te tau e!' – ‘Matariki reappears, Whanui starts its flight. Being the sign of the [new] year!'

Tauranga Moana will once again come alive with a four-week programme of events celebrating Matariki – The Maori New Year which are taking place across the city from May 24 to June 25.

Matariki is the Maori name for the star cluster also known as the Pleiades. In the last few days of May, you can observe Matariki rise in the north-eastern horizon just before dawn, with the first new moon following the rise of Matariki being the first day of the Maori New Year.

“Matariki is a special time in the Māori calendar with a focus on festivity – at this time of year, food is plentiful, making it a time for singing, dancing and feasting,” says a spokesperson for the Tauranga Moana Mataraiki Festival.

“Discover the significance and history of Matariki by taking part in the 2017 programme of events, which is celebrating its 16th year in Tauranga. The numerous events offer a wonderful opportunity to come together and explore ways to observe the Māori New Year with whānau and friends.” 

Locals and visitors will be spoilt for choice with more than 25 Matariki-themed events, exhibitions and workshops across Tauranga Moana. 

The four-week programme includes a variety of exhibitions, live performances, library lectures for adults and storytelling for little ones.

“Join one of the Incubator's art workshops and demonstrations celebrating Māori artists and their art forms, or step outdoors and enjoy an early morning walk up Otanewainuku or Mauao, and learn about celestial navigation.

“Take the family along to the Te Puna i Rangiriri Trust's Matariki marquee at the base of Mauao, or to Ferguson Park to watch some amazing kites fly high above. Head out on a two-day cultural training, or join EmployNZ in an interactive workshop for rangatahi (youth).

“There will be something for everyone, young or older. Things to learn, things to do, things to discover and things to inspire.”

The Matariki 2017 programme of events is proudly supported by Tauranga City Libraries, Baycourt, Te Puna i Rangiriri Trust, the Incubator, Department of Conservation, EmployNZ, Ngai Te Rangi, Creative Bay of Plenty, and the Tauranga City and Western Bay of Plenty District councils. 

The community is invited to the launch of the 2017 programme at the Simpson Grierson Gallery at Creative Bay of Plenty on Willow Street on Wednesday, May 24, from 5.30pm.

For more information, full listing of the events and for bookings, visit


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