Nau Mai Haere Mai, Welcome to the 8th annual Puaka Matariki Festival.

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.

The 2016 Festival runs from Friday 3rd June – Sunday 26th June

Heramaahina Eketone (Ngati Maniapoto and Waikato) designed the beautiful artwork that adorns the Puaka Matariki Festival programme and promotions this year.
Tracey Tawhiao (Ngai te Rangi, Whakatohea, Tuwharetoa) provided the stunning designs for Puaka Matariki Festival 2015.
Video produced by IXIST for 2014 Festival Launch. Screened at the DPAG with waiata by Irie Simpson 'e hine'. Video shows images of 2013 Festival design of Ranginui and the 2014 Festival design of Papatuanuku both by IXIST.



North East Valley Celebrates Puaka Matariki

29 Jun , 2016   News

A cool, clear, starry evening in the Valley provided the perfect backdrop for another hugely successful Matariki  Hunga Nui  at Dunedin North Intermediate. Rumour has it that there was enough food to feed 500 and by the look of it, the generosity, hospitality and skill of the providers more than met this challenge. Welcomed by...

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Waitati Celebrates Puaka Matariki

21 Jun , 2016   News

Waitati School and the Blueskin Playcentre combined forces for their Puaka Matariki celebrations this year. Children from pre-school to intermediate ages presented performances and notably a new school haka was performed by older boys for the first time. He Haka mō te kura o Waitati was composed for the school by Waiariki Parata-Taiapa. Performances were...

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Treaty Signing Commemorated

20 Jun , 2016   News

Kavanagh College performed Tiriti O Waitangi at Toitū Museum on June 13. The Treaty was signed at Otakou on this day in 1840. The play presented in the Ara-i-te-uru Gallery was deemed to be such a success that the school and their drama pupils have been invited back by Museum management to use the venue...

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Weaving at Ōrōkonui

20 Jun , 2016   News

Ōrōkonui Eco-Sanctuary hosted a wānanga for beginner harakeke weavers on June 11. Local weaver Sue Hensley took participants around the pā harakeke to inspect and discuss some of the diverse collection of flax plants growing there. Opened in 2010 the Pā Harakeke is a joint venture between Kāti Huirapa Rūnaka ki Puketeraki and Ōrōkonui Ecosanctuary. The...

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Mornington Celebrates Matariki

15 Jun , 2016   News

Mornington School run a week long programme of events, special classes and activities to celebrate Puaka Matariki. This culminates in a dawn event and community breakfast. Over 250 people attended this years event on Thursday 9th June. When gathered in the School Hall all of the lights are dimmed, waiata are performed, Matariki stories are...

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Whānau Come From Near and Far for Taiaha Wānanga.

9 Jun , 2016   News

A beautiful weekend in Karitane at the Puketeraki Marae saw whānau from Omarau, Milton, Wānaka and Dunedin come together for the third annual Taiaha Wānanga. The whānau that came down from Wānaka, included the father, his son and four grandsons. The weekend long wānanga involved training in haka, waiata, stories, exercise and learning about the taiaha. The...

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