The Matariki Festival in Auckland is a month of celebrations to mark the Maori new year and it is regarded as the high point on the New Zealand calender. The festival begins on June 21st when the cluster of Matariki star’s rise to the skies and even though all of the events that have been arranged appeal to everyone, there is still a deep sense of the Maori tradition which makes the Matariki Festival so unique.
There really is something for everyone over the course of the month with music, dance, exhibitions and family events with everyone being able to sample to welcoming nature of the Auckland people as well as getting a taste of the Maori traditions of which New Zealand is so rightly proud of.
There is not a better time or place to begin the celebrations of the Matariki Festival than at 6am on the summit of Maungakiekie with an extremely moving karakia. This is where you will witness the dawn of the Maori new year and anyone who has attended in the past will confirm that it is an experience not to be forgotten. To witness at first hand how much this means to the local people is quite an experience and it gets the beginning of the month long celebrations off to a fantastic start.
On the following day between 6pm and 12pm, the Matariki All Stars Concert is held and this is proving to be an extremely popular even with talented musicians from all over New Zealand in attendance. It would be a good idea to book tickets for this event early as possible because they can sell out and if you are paying at the door it is more expensive.
The Matariki Festival is extremely well planned out throughout the course of the month so it would be advised to go through the catalogue of events and plan your trip accordingly. Whilst some of the events may not involve music and entertainment, the educational days which have been planned are enormous fun and it is obvious that a great deal of care and attention have gone into putting them together.
One of these events which must be worth a mention is the Muriwai Matariki Magic evening which is held at the Houghtons Bush Camp. There are only 100 tickets that are made available for this event to booking early is of paramount importance but what an experience for those who are lucky enough to attend. It can only be described as an intimate evening of story telling which is set against the back drop of the most amazing scenery and which brilliantly encapsulates the Maori way of life over the centuries.
A mention should also be made of the Matariki themed market day at the Mangere Arts Centre at which you can purchase some unique arts and crafts which are always very reasonably priced and which will also give a real insight into the Maori culture which it would have to said is absolutely fascinating.
So, if you find yourself in Auckland at the end of June and the first three weeks in July, the Matariki Festival is something that you should investigate further because there is bound to be something happening which will be of interest to you.