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

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. Tracey Tawhiao (Ngai te Rangi, Whakatohea, Tuwharetoa) provided the stunning designs for Puaka Matariki Festival 2015.

Upcoming Events


Die Rückkehr Des Sternbrunnens

‘The Return of the Star Fountain’ is a lightbox installed in the fountains in the Lower Octagon. Dunedin sculptor and ...

Saturday 21 May, 2016
The Fountains in The Lower Octagon

Kapa Haka in the Valley

Bring your whānau – all are welcome – to waiata together. The Valley Project in partnership with Te Taieri O ...

Thursday June 2, 2016
The Valley Project Community Rooms – 262 North Rd, Dunedin

Pīwawaka at Night

‘Pīwakawaka At Night’ is an exhibition of work by Studio2 artists to celebrate Matariki. It will be uniquely Studio2, with ...

Friday 3 June to Sunday 26 June, 2015
Margaret Freeman Gallery 83 Moray Place Dunedin


2016 Festival Programme Launched in Style

22 May , 2016   News

The 2016 Puaka Matariki Festival programme was launched with great style, diverse performances, warm friendship, generous kai and persistent rain. Proceedings started in the Auditorium of the Dunedin Public Art Gallery and ended up in the Octagon to witness the first turning on of the Puaka and Matariki light boxes in the Octagon Fountains. Waiariki Parata-Taiapa opened...

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Festival Design

19 May , 2016   News

Heramaahina Eketone (Ngati Maniapoto and Waikato) designed the beautiful artwork that adorns the Puaka Matariki Festival programme and promotions this year.   The whakaaro behind her design is about navigating our way, whether it is through something in particular or life in general. The weaving talks of the idea that we are all woven together...

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Light of Matariki

24 May , 2015   News

Tracey Tawhiao (Ngai te Rangi, Whakatohea, Tuwharetoa) has provided us the stunning designs for Puaka Matariki Festival 2015. Tracey now based in Piha grew up in Invercargill and Dunedin, she is returning this year with a major installation of her artworks called ‘Rangiatea’ opening in the Festival on 12th June. Her artwork for the festival...

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Warrington / Okahau celebrates Puaka Matariki

25 Jul , 2014   News

What an amazing evening! It was a real treat to see the children so passionate about sharing and performing their drumming and waiata to celebrate Matariki in front of such a large, attentive audience of parents and members of the wider Warrington community.  Thank you to Ms Jones and Mrs Russell for their wonderful work...

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Te Ao Hurihuri

11 Jul , 2014   News

te ao huri huri Click the link here to watch a very short film of the work Te Ao Hurihuri. The exhibition presented by Blue Oyster Gallery for Puaka Matariki Festival runs until Sunday 13th. 1pm til 7pm, timed so that people attending Mana Wahine at the Regent Theatre can visit the Athenaeum in the...

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Pecha Kucha

11 Jul , 2014   News

A SHOWCASE OF MAORI ARTISTS, IDEAS & CREATIVITY SUNDAY 13TH JULY 2014 // 6:00PM  ARAITEURU MARAE, 24 SHETLAND STREET  ADULTS $10, CHILDREN $5, CASH ONLY  LIGHT MEAL PROVIDED  A great line up of Maori artists, designers and incredibly creative people, this Pecha Kucha Night will be a fantastic way to end the Puaka Matariki Festival.

As this event will...

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