Celebrate the Aotearoa New Year with a free Friday night concert from top Māori musicians, daily hāngi lunches, waiata and kapa haka performances, and a beautiful new artwork series by artist Huriana Kopeke-Te Aho.

This year, we’ve teamed up with our neighbours along Tāmaki Taimoana (the Auckland waterfront) to make downtown an amazing place to immerse yourself in contemporary Te Ao Māori during Auckland’s Matariki Festival. 

At Britomart, we’re hosting a new series of artworks by Huriana Kopeke-Te Aho (Tūhoe, Ngāti Porou, Rongowhakaata, Te Āti Haunui-a-Pāpārangi, Ngāti Kahungungu), who explores stories of personal meaning and social justice. Their new illustrations personify each of the nine stars in the Matariki cluster, which are all connected with different elements. They’ll be presented on the Pavilions in Te Ara Tahuhu and on the construction hoardings outside the Barrington and Sofrana buildings in Customs Street East – check them out on your lunch break. 

From June 23-25 hāngi master Rewi Spraggon returns to serve up steaming hot kai from his pit in Takutai Square. We’ve been thinking fondly of his smoky hāngi pies and veggie, pork or chicken hāngi lunchboxes since he visited us for Matariki last June, so if you’ve never tried them, make sure you do this year. 

Also starting on June 23, we have Te Taumata Kapa Haka, presented in association with Auckland Council – free lunchtime kapa haka performances by four Tāmaki Makaurau kapa haka groups. The performances run at 12.15pm and 1.15pm from June 23-26, with a different group performing each day.

Wed 23 June    Te Wehi Haka

Thu 24 June     Te Wharekura o Hoani Waititi

Fri 25 June        Pukekohe North School

Sat 26 June       Te Rōpū Manutaki

On the same days, you can also catch live performances from Māori singer-songwriters for Matariki on the Move: Waiata, from 12.50pm to 1.10pm.

Wed 23 June    Jhasmyne-Leigh Laomahei

Thu 24 June     Makaira Berry

Fri 25 June        HINA

Sat 26 June       RnR Music

The highlight event of the Matariki Festival is the Te Korakora on Takutai Concert held in Takutai Square on Friday July 9, headlined by Ria Hall (Ngāi Te Rangi, Ngāti Ranginui), with her signature style of roots, reggae and reo. 

Other great acts include Mara TK (Ngāi Tahu, Ngāti Kahungunu, Tainui), as he combines soul and psychedelic electronica, prolific beatmaker and turntablist, DJ Spell’s (Ngāti Porou, Tainui) live set of West Coast-inspired hip hop, with some of the best Māori MC’s joining him on stage, and Māori/ Samoan neo-soul singer LaCoco (Ngāti Kahu, Ngā Ruahine, Papa Sataua), whose sound is rooted in gospel, R ’n’ B and jazz. It's sure to be an awesome time for the whole family, so round up the whanau and come along. 

Along with the events at Britomart, there are art exhibitions, craft workshops, markets, light shows and much more happening downtown along the waterfront. Visit matarikifestival.org.nz or heartofthecity.co.nz/matariki-taimoana to see what else is going on.