What is Matariki?
Ko Matariki kei runga, ko te tohu tēnā o te tau!

Matariki signals the Māori New Year. It is a time of renewal and celebration in New Zealand that begins with the rising of the Matariki star cluster (the Pleiades or Seven Sisters).

When is Matariki?

Matariki is a star cluster which appears in the night sky during mid-winter. According to the Maramataka (the Māori lunar calendar), the reappearance of Matariki, brings the old lunar year to a close and marks the beginning of the new year. Hence, Matariki is associated with the Māori New Year.

Ka puta Matariki ka rere Whānui.
Ko te tohu tēnā o te tau e!

Matariki reappears, Vega starts its flight.
The new year begins!

Traditionally, festivities were conducted to celebrate Matariki, they followed the harvesting of crops when the pātakapātaka food storehouses were full, freeing up time for family and leisure.

These festivities included the lighting of ritual fires, the making of offerings, and celebrations of various kinds to farewell the dead, to honour ancestors, and to celebrate life.

Ngā kai a Matariki, nāna i ao ake ki runga.
The foods of Matariki, gathered up by her.

Tohunga / Māori elder spiritual expert looked to the Matariki star cluster to find out how abundant the upcoming year’s harvest would be. Bright, clear stars promised a warm and successful season. Hazy stars, however, warned of cold weather and poor crops.

There are plenty of events throughout this period for you to enjoy.  See below


The Chatter Nights

The Chatter group encourage people of all backgrounds to bring a plate and share some stories and come and learn all about Aotearoa New Zealand’s Māori New Year.

Across Aotearoa New Zealand, people come together to remember their ancestors, share food, sing, tell stories, and play music.  Matariki festivities highlight the tangata whenua / indigenous view of the world. They remind us of the cycle of life and natural ways of marking the passing of time.

Matariki is a great time to reflect on the year that has been, acknowledge whānau / family, or even build a manu tukutuku / kite to connect to you to ancestors that passed.  

This event will be hosted in the Invercargill Public Library Meeting Room and tea & coffee will be provided.

11th July, 2018 (5:30pm)

Flax weaving

Crafternoon Tea will be getting in on the Matariki celebrations for 2018 with a flax weaving (raranga) workshop run by Sharne Parkinson.  Regular Crafternoon  Tea host Karen will also be there to help along the way.  Plenty of flax and materials will be provided so make your way into the Invercargill Public Library this Matariki and learn some flax weaving (raranga) skills.

This is a FREE workshop which will run from 1pm – 3pm in the Meeting Room, tea & coffee will be provided, do not miss this chance to learn a new skill during this wonderful time of year.

26th July, 2018 (1pm – 3pm)

Tawhirimatea’s Eye Kits

Tawhirimatea’s Eye Kits

Tāwhirimātea’s Eye Kits are now available to pick up from in the children’s Library. Make Tāwhirimātea’s Eye and return them to the Library no later than June 30 to see your art decorating a shop window in the inner-city to celebrate Matariki!

Make sure to return the slip with your name and contact number to go into a draw for a super cool prize pack and join us for the Matariki Festival in Esk Street, Saturday 7 July from 10-4pm!

Limit 2 kits per person

Matariki Festival

Matariki Festival Header Image

The Matariki Festival is a celebration of friendship, collaboration, arts and harvest. It is the Māori New Year and is a time for us to celebrate the greatness and abundance of culture and talent in New Zealand.

This festival will take place on Esk Street and run from 10am-4pm with lots of performances throughout the day from kapa haka groups, local singers, to workshops on carving, weaving, poi making, musical instruments and a dark skies exhibition. There is an amazing outdoor market as well as a Stardome so you can experience the stars and the story of Matariki first hand.

We will also have food trucks, face painting and more. All of these activities are free and open to the public