Full line-up of events for Matariki 2015 in Rotorua

Published: Fri 12 Jun 2015 02:31 PM
12 June 2015
Full line-up of events for Matariki 2015 in Rotorua
Matariki celebrations in Rotorua will feature a range of community events including kite making, family activities, a fashion show, a community walk and a poster competition.
Nine events organised by Rotorua Lakes Council’s museum, library and sport and recreation teams will complement events being organised by other community groups over the next two months, making for a full calendar for Matariki 2015.
Council’s Matariki celebrations start on Saturday, 20 June, with Matariki Whānau Night at Rotorua Museum, featuring stargazing in a portable planetarium, storytelling, arts, crafts, face painting, music, food and more. The final Matariki event being hosted by Rotorua Lakes Council will be Matariki at the Market – the weekly Thursday night market – on 30 July.
The winning design in the Rotorua District Library Matariki Poster Competition, which is open to all Rotorua school children, will feature in promotions for next year’s local Matariki events.
“Our teams have combined to provide a full and varied calendar of Matariki events for families and people of all ages,” says Haki Tahana, Mātanga Māori/Māori Services Librarian.
“Matariki has become more and more popular with locals in recent years and we want this special time of year to be a real celebration locally.
“Matariki will have an extra special meaning for Council staff this year after the tragic loss of our kaupapa Māori director Mauriora Kingi,” Mr Tahana says.
“Mauriora played a major role in the planning stages, and his knowledge and support has inspired us to create this special calendar of events. This year’s focus is to increase learning about the significance of Matariki and the Māori New Year, and we will build on this in future years to make Matariki a major annual celebration for Rotorua.
“We have also started to liaise with others in the community with a view to establishing stronger links and coordination for future Matariki celebrations,” he says.
What is Matariki?
• Matariki is the Māori name for a cluster of stars also known as the Pleiades. It rises in mid-winter – late May or early June – and for many Māori, heralds the start of a new year. Matariki literally means the 'eyes of god' (mata ariki) or 'little eyes' (mata riki).
• Traditionally, Matariki was a time to remember those who had died in the last year. But it was also a time to celebrate the harvesting of crops and collecting of seafood and birds, a time when there was plenty of food in the storehouses.
• Matariki, or Māori New Year celebrations were once popular, but stopped in the 1940s before being revived in 2000.
• Kite flying is a special feature. According to ancient custom they flutter close to the stars.
• For more information about Matariki visit
Matariki 2015 – Rotorua Lakes Council community events:
• Now to Friday 3 July: Matariki Poster Competition, Library, free. Design a Matariki poster and be in to win great prizes for you and your kura. Get entry forms at the library, museum and Aquatic Centre. For more information ph 348 4177, email or
• Thursdays 18 and 25 June, 2, 9, 16 and 23 July: Family lantern-making workshops, free, 5pm-8pm, Tutanekai St night market. Fun family workshops, all materials provided. For more info ph 351 7057 or email
• Saturday 20 June: Matariki Whānau Night, Rotorua Museum, featuring Cosmodome plantarium, Travelling Tuataras, crafts, face painting, music, café specials and more. Tickets (adults $5, children $3, under 5s free) on sale at Museum. For more info and bookings ph 350 1814 or visit
• Thursday 25 June: Whaikōrero with Māori astronomy expert Dr Rangi Mātāmua, free, 6pm-7pm, Museum, find out about Matariki from its origins to now. Arrive early to secure your place. For more info ph 350 1814 or visit
• Sunday 28 June: Family Matariki Celebration Walk, 1pm-3pm from Rotorua Bowling Club, free, join Māori astronomy student Hohepa Tuahine for an entertaining walk around Government Gardens with music, art and craft activities along the way and a light afternoon tea to finish. Register by June 25, limited places. For more info ph 348 4199, email
• Thursday 9 July: Matariki kite-making workshop, 1.30pm, Library, free, all materials provided. For more info ph 348 4177, or visit
• Friday 10 July: Matariki kite flying, 10.30am, Library, free event. Test-fly your Matariki kite creations from Thursday’s workshop. For more info ph 348 4177, email or visit
• Thursday 16 July: Matariki Fashion Show, Library, 6pm. A night of fun and glamour as local designers show off their creations on the catwalk. For more info ph 07 348 4177, email or visit
• Thursday 30 July: Matariki at the Market, 6pm until late, free, Tutanekai St - music, food and dance. For more info ph 07 351 7057 or email

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