The Matariki star cluster appears in New Zealand’s north-eastern sky in late autumn or in winter, heralding the arrival of the Māori New Year. This was traditionally a time for festivities following the harvesting of crops when the pātakapātaka (food storehouses) were full.
Today, Matariki has become a time of revitalisation and resurgence of te reo Māori and mātauranga Māori.
Matariki is an opportunity to reflect and celebrate our history and make plans for our future.
Learn more in our Experience Matariki guide!
Visit Matariki Poupou
Local master carver James Tapiata has created a special monument to Matariki which stands on the corner of Dive Crescent and The Strand near Tauranga’s downtown restaurants. Poupou (carved figures) represent the cluster of stars that Māori know as Matariki and represent different aspects of importance such as the status Matariki holds in the universe and the navigational aspects of the star cluster. Check it out when you’re passing by and learn more here.
Fly A Kite
Fergusson Park, on the harbour’s edge at Matua, hosts Tauranga’s annual Matariki Kite Day which is an amazing sight to behold and fun day out for the whole family. Kites symbolise the connection between heaven and earth so are traditionally flown at Matariki to send karakia (prayers) to those who have passed away, and send wishes for the future to the heavens. People are welcome to bring their own kites or just marvel at the enormous creations being flown by members of the New Zealand Kite Flyers Association.
For 2023 event dates sign up to the No Place Like Home newsletter here
To honour Matariki traditions, more than 40 annual and one-off events are held around the Bay of Plenty every winter to celebrate our cultural heritage and unique national identity including workshops, exhibitions, live performances and family events.
For 2023 events view the My Tauranga programme.