Dunedin City Council proudly welcomes you to enjoy and participate in our annual Puaka Matariki Festival. This festival is unique to Dunedin, it’s one of the significant ways the Council celebrates their partnership with iwi and engages with te ao Maori. Dunedin City Council supports the coordination and delivery of the Festival, they also provide funding to many of the groups and projects in the programme, and they provide administrative, technical and promotional support.
In traditional times different iwi observed the rising of Puaka or the Matariki cluster of stars to denote the beginning of the Maori New Year. Likewise different cultures in different parts of the Pacific were aligned to the rising of either. The New Year starts at the first new moon following the rising of Puaka and Matariki which this year is the 5th June.
Puaka is the principal star of Ngai Tahu. The nature of its rising in mid-winter would foretell the coming weather. Puaka is also known as Rigel and is part of the Orion constellation. Different iwi have different traditions attached to Matariki. The visual appearance of the stars at their rising was a portent of weather to come and was closely associated with kumera. Matariki is also known as Pleides.
We celebrate Puaka Matariki through a programme of diverse community celebrations across the suburbs, towns and communities that make up Dunedin including the Mid-Winter Carnival in the Octagon as a citywide celebration of the Maori New Year.
We celebrate Puaka Matariki as the ‘Wananga Season’, the time when we come together to share stories, pass on knowledge and learning, plan for the year ahead and this is represented in programmes presented by our public institutions like the Museums and Art Galleries.
We celebrate Puaka Matariki as Dunedin’s Festival of Maori Art through a wide range of toi Maori, visual art, literary works, music and dance performance events.
Please enjoy the podcasts, stories and images on our website from the 2014 and 2015 Festival.