Experience the Magic of Matariki in Taitokerau Northland!


Experience the Magic of Matariki in Taitokerau Northland!

Puanga Matariki and Te Tau Hou Māori is a special time of year, marking the rising of the Matariki star cluster in the night sky, the start of the Māori New Year and a time of reflection, celebration and connection. This year the Matariki public holiday falls on Friday 28th of June but throughout June and July there are a number of exciting events and festivities to acknowledge this important period!  

Image credit: Mark Russell 


Matariki Pano © Mark Russell

Matariki Pewhairangi © Mark Russell

Matariki Pēwhairangi Bay of Islands 2024 is the annual festival held in the Bay of Islands weaving together a programme of workshops, melodious waiata (music), captivating talks, sumptuous feasts, star-gazing and family fun! Don’t miss the highlight of this calendar of events, Tohunga Tumau, an incredible culinary experience of fine dining in its fourth year. Held on 6th July, combining outstanding modern Maori cuisine, entertainment and culture with an all-star cast of Maori master chefs, this event is a sell-out so get your tickets quick smart.  

Another sell out event during the Matariki Pēwhairangi festival is the Matariki Dawn Cruise, on the 28th June. Picture yourself witnessing the rising of Matariki at dawn as you cruise through the Bay of Islands with knowledgeable guides sharing the traditions behind this significant period, followed by a breakfast at Otehei Bay on Urupukapuka Island. Suitable for families, this a great event to celebrate and create core family memories.  

While you are in the Bay of Islands, mark the 30th June in your calendars for an open day at the Waitangi Treaty Grounds. With no entry fees, take the whanau along and enjoy free guided tours, cultural performances, explore the two museums and more.  

Whangarei Starry Sky © Russell Ord Photography

Whangārei Starry Sky © Russell Ord Photography

Across the Whangārei District during the month of June is the Puanga Matariki Festival, another exciting line up of celebratory, reflective and soul-stirring events. With too many exciting experiences to name here, some of the highlights include a dawn karakia at the Hundertwasser Art Centre with Wairau Māori Art Gallery, free concerts at the Whangārei Library, free open days at Hihiaua Cultural Centre, a Matariki astronomy session at Planetarium North, and The Great Matariki Star Hunt with an awesome prize up for grabs!  

Spirits Bay Starry Sky © @basti__berlin

Spirits Bay Starry Sky © @basti__berlin

Along with the wide range of events across the region, Puanga Matariki is a great time of year to create your own family traditions of celebration, reflection and connection. Sharing kai is a common traditional way to spend time with whanau during this period, so why not plan to bring the family together and share a feast. Whether it’s a fun evening of fish and chips on the beach, or a night of culinary brilliance at one of the region’s fine dining restaurants there’s plenty of ways to celebrate. Matariki is also a time to honour ancestors, reflect on the past year and make plans for the year ahead. Why not start your own tradition by venturing to a scenic viewpoint at dawn, watch the rising of the Matariki star cluster on the north-eastern horizon, then as a family setting your intentions for the coming year. Taitokerau Northland’s east coast is a great location for this, with plenty of stunning accessible viewpoints to watch the stars rise.  

This Matariki, let Taitokerau Northland be your destination of celebration and connection, and discover the magic that awaits!  




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