Navigate Up
Sign In

Matariki makes winter a festival

No matter how successful, 'The Endless Winter Festival' simply does not have the same ring to it as Whangarei’s tremendously successful Endless Summer Festival of almost 100 events for people of all ages and interests.
Updated: 23/06/2014 2:15 p.m.

​Emma Paki is just one of a great line up of
 entertainers during the Matariki Festival this winter.

Which makes it a good thing that winter brings Matariki, the rising of the Pleiades star system, heralding 'New Year', a time for reflection, renewal, preparation and celebration in the Maori calendar.

​“Matariki has given us a great opportunity to kick off another major festival of events in Whangarei to entertain local people, embrace our Maori culture and bring outsiders into the District,” said Venues and Events Manager John Lynch.

“We have produced a booklet that contains dozens of Whangarei-based events between late June and throughout August, marketed under the Matariki Festival banner – just the same as we do for the Endless Summer  Festival in summer. Most are not Council events, but we pull them all together so everyone can get to know about them.

“There is star gazing on Saturday nights at the Planetarium, a Matariki-inspired buffet, a Waka Ama regatta, hard-core dance Matariki show,  a whanau festival, concerts, a celebration of the Maori Battalion at Kiwi North, flax weaving, art competitions, an arts weekend, a movie festival, Mana Wahine dance show and dance class, story telling, Maori language classes, theatre and more! There is something for everyone!,” Mr Lynch said.

The big kick-off event will be the Whanau Festival on Saturday 28 June.

“We want everyone to dress up warm and come to the Town Basin for this, Whangarei’s newest winter celebration.  It will be an all-ages event with delicious kiwi kai and activities for kids.

“From 1pm to 7pm there will be performances by the Emma Paki Trio, Benno from Soljah, and the Hatea Kapahaka group (current Te Matatini choral champions).  Big Henry Hapi, Vera Rapana, Martin Family Quartet, Calib Rawson, Northland Hardcore Dance, Alien, Ngatiwai Rangatahi Roopu and Northland Youth Music will all take part,” Mr Lynch said.

As a Matariki gift to the people of our district, Claphams National Clock Museum is opening their doors with free entry on the day and guided tours with a keynote speaker talking about traditional navigation.  Northland based film maker Karen Sidney will launch her Creative Northland commissioned Matariki inspired multimedia installation at Whangarei Art Museum from 10am. 

Karen will also deliver a festival of Maori films (including one of her own) and coordinate Pukeko Echo interactive filming in the kids zone along with her team at Channel North.

The Ngatiwai Education Kids Zone will provide free activities for kids from 1pm to 3pm.

All that activity will work up some appetites, so lots of Matariki food will be available from the NZ Fudge Farm, Riverside Cafe, Mokaba, Serenity Cafe and Reva’s on the waterfront, and hangi will be available too.

There will also be greenstone specials at Nautical Trends, burning Issue Gallery will feature special Matariki inspired collaborative glass works by Rebecca Heap and Te Rongo Kirkwood, as well as Matariki inspired work in ceramics and jewellery by their regular Northland artists.

Anyone wanting to know more about the festival can grab a booklet at the library or the Town Basin shops and/or go to our web page:

or look for us on:




Whangarei District Council owns this website and the information, images and photographs in it are subject to copyright. No portion may be copied or republished without prior permission of Whangarei District Council. We have made every reasonable effort to provide accurate and reliable information. The use of any information is at the website visitor’s own risk and discretion.