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Matariki Festival

Information about Matariki and the 2016 Matariki Festival Whangarei events hosted by Whangarei Libraries.
Updated: 23/06/2016 12:23 p.m.
Whangarei Matariki Festival .

About Matariki

Matariki is the name given by Māori to a cluster of seven stars, part of a constellation known in Western astronomy as Pleiades. The appearance of the stars in the dawn sky in late May, early June marks the start of a new phase of life - the Aotearoa Pacific new year.

While various Iwi celebrate Matariki at different times, most festivities begin at the next new moon after Matariki has risen. In 2016 this Pipiri is 6 June.

There are two English translations of Matariki - mata riki (tiny eyes) or mata ariki (eyes of god) referring to the eyes watching over the land and its people.

The celebration of Matariki has undergone a revival in recent years, with a growing awareness among New Zealanders of Māori traditions contributing to their unique cultural identity.

Matariki is a growing tradition celebrating people, language, spirituality and history.

2016 Matariki Festival Whangarei

Get into the spirit of Matariki with these free activities for all ages hosted by Whangarei Libraries. 

Design a Matariki Star

Monday 6 June – Saturday 2 July
For children 12 years or younger.

Pick up an entry form with instructions from any branch of Whangarei Libraries. 
Return Matariki star designs to the Checkout desk at Whangarei Central Library to collect a prize. One entry per person.  All entries will receive a prize.

Download Design a Matariki star entry form [pdf: 358kb]

Matariki Preschool Funtimes

Tikipunga Library
  • Tuesday 7 June, 10 – 11 am
  • Tuesday 14 June, 10 – 11 am
  • Tuesday 21 June, 10 – 11 am
  • Tuesday 28 June, 10 – 11 am
Whangarei Central Library
  • Wednesday 8 June, 10 – 11 am
  • Thursday 9 June, 10 – 11 am
  • Wednesday 15 June, 10 – 11 am
  • Thursday 16 June, 10 – 11 am
  • Wednesday 22 June, 10 – 11 am
  • Thursday 23 June, 10 – 11 am
  • Wednesday 29 June, 10 – 11 am
  • Thursday 30 June, 10 – 11 am
Free sessions for pre-schoolers and home-schooled children. Preschool programme involving music, movement, storytelling and craft activities with Māori themes and waiata for the Matariki Festival month. All children must be accompanied by an adult.

Saturday Story Time

Saturday 11 June, 10 – 10.30 am, Children's Room Whangarei Central Library
Come along and enjoy listening to a dramatized retelling of traditional Māori myths and legends.
For children of all ages. Children under 11 years must be accompanied by an adult.

Kapa Haka by Tauraroa Area School

Wednesday 15 June, 11 am, Children’s Room, Whangarei Central Library
Kapa Haka performance by the Tauraroa Area School Junior Kapa Haka group

Matariki Whanau Day

Saturday 18 June 11 am to 4 pm  (Rain day Saturday 25 June)
Whangarei Town Basin and Hihiaua Peninsula

Matariki Kites

Presented by Whangarei Libraries & Storytime.

Display Kites

11 am - Hihiaua Peninsula
Beautiful Māori design kites and huge display kites will be flown. Bring your own favourite kite to fly or take some time out to simply enjoy the display (weather permitting).
Please note: Limited space is available for public kite flying.  

The Seven Kites of Matariki.

Kite Workshop

11 am to 3 pm - Tamariki Zone

Calico McClintock, author of  ‘The Seven Kites of Matariki’ joins the Storytime and Whangarei Libraries team to help children make mini versions of kites in the story. 

The children’s kites and Matariki wishes for 2016 will be on display for the day in a beautiful wind garden. 

Hikoi and Matariki Messenger Kite

3:45 pm
Children are invited to gather at the Tamariki Zone to collect their own kites and join a hikoi from the Main Stage to Hihiaua Peninsula to release a special Matariki Messenger Kite.

Weather permitting - see the noticeboard outside the Tamariki Zone for any changes to this schedule.

Flax Weaving Workshop

Friday 24 June, 9.30am – 12.30pm, Māori Room, Whangarei Central Library,
Small group instruction in the craft of flax weaving by a skilled tutor. More suitable for adults or those with some flax working experience. Ten person maximum. Free entry

Registration required

To register: phone 09 430 4206 or email
Registrations have closed.

Flax Fun for Kids

Saturday 2 July, 10.30 am – 12.30 pm, Whangarei Central Library
Children can come along and learn how to weave a simple flax item.  No booking or experience required. Free entry. Suitable for children 5 years and over.



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