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Stars align for Te Huihui-o-Matariki in Whakatū Nelson

Nelson’s Te Huihui-o-Matariki commemorations this year will be our biggest yet, with Taku Kara Tīpuna, the Regional Secondary School Kapa Haka Competitions turning the event into a day-long celebration.

This year’s Te Huihui-o-Matariki will be delivered in collaboration with Te Tauihu Māori Culture Council and Te Kotahi o Te Tauihu Charitable Trust on 14 July 2023. Joining the entertainment this year are special guest stars Maaka Fiso, Awhimai Fraser and the Modern Māori Quartet.

Following consultations with iwi, Nelson City Council has chosen not to include fireworks in the celebrations, in line with the guidance set by the Matariki Advisory Committee, who have advised the Government that fireworks do not align with te taiao (environmental awareness) of the celebration.

Matariki refers to the star cluster known as Pleiades, which disappears at the beginning of the colder months. When the stars reappear in the middle of winter, it signals the Māori New Year.

Nelson City Council Chief Executive Nigel Philpott says the event is an opportunity for whānau/families to learn more about its Māori traditions, celebrate the significant event and enjoy the beauty of the Matariki constellation.

“Matariki is a time to reflect and to look ahead to the future, come together and celebrate who we are.  We will look to hold a fireworks display at another more suitable time in the year.”

This year’s celebrations begin in the Trafalgar Centre with doors opening at 9am for Taku Kara Tīpuna, the Regional Secondary School Kapa Haka Competitions, which will see six teams compete for a place in the national finals next year. Tickets for the event can be purchased from Eventbrite.

The Matariki Night Market (Mākete Pō) runs from 5pm-9pm in Rutherford Park. There will be a variety of arts, crafts and kai available, as well as live entertainment, light art displays and a fire poi performance. Entry to the Mākete Pō is koha/gold coin.

The koha entry will be donated to Whakatū Te Korowai Manaakitanga Trust (Te Korowai Trust), a Nelson-based charitable trust established in 2001 that provides a comprehensive range of social services incorporating Māori values and practices throughout Nelson-Tasman.

Among the entertainment lineup this year is:

  • Singer, songwriter, recording artist and radio host Maaka Fiso (Tūhoe, Ngāti Kahungunu, Ngāti Porou and Samoa). Fiso is a former X Factor NZ Contestant 2013, Māori Male Artist of the year recipient (2017) and Māori Music Award Nominee.
  • Artist, singer and actress Awhimai Fraser (Waikato, Ngāti Pūkenga, Ngāi Tāmanuhiri), the Kaihere Ao at NZ Opera.
  • The Modern Māori Quartet – Maaka Pohatu (Ngāi Tāmanuhiri, Ngāti Apa, Ngāti Tūwharetoa), Francis Kora (Ngāi Tūhoe, Ngāti Pūkeko), Matariki Whatarau (Ngāti Kahungunu, Ngāti Raukawa, Ngāti Whanaunga), James Tito (Ngāti Tūwharetoa, Ngāpuhi, Kūki ‘Āirani (Cook Islands).

Nelson Mayor Nick Smith says everyone attending the festival will feel the manaakitanga – the hospitality – of Whakatū.

“Te Huihui-o-Matariki is a wonderful day for whānau to enjoy. It’s an opportunity for the community to learn more about kaupapa Māori, bring family together, and celebrate our region’s diversity with food and entertainment.”

The details:
Matariki Festival, Te Huihui-o-Matariki 2023
Location: Trafalgar Centre and Rutherford Park
Date: Friday 14 July 2023

Time: 9am – 9pm

Taku Kara Tīpuna, the Regional Secondary School Kapa Haka Competitions run from 9am – 3pm. Tickets for this section can be purchased from Eventbrite. Doors open at 9am, and the competition starts at 10am.

Mākete Pō (night market) opens at 5pm. Entertainment in the Trafalgar Centre begins at 5.30pm. Evening concludes at 9pm. Koha/gold coin entry.

Those attending are encouraged to travel on foot, bike, bus or carpool.

Click here to find out more…

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