Matariki excitement builds

Arts, Culture and Heritage

The second celebration of Matariki as a national public holiday this Friday is being marked by increasing public support for the event, Associate Minister for Arts, Culture and Heritage Willow-Jean Prime said today.

“This year, Matariki will be celebrated in new and traditional ways and at a level we haven’t seen before,” Willow Jean Prime said.

“While Māori have traditionally celebrated Matariki, heading into our second public holiday for the event, it’s fantastic to see interest from the wider community growing.

“In 2022, just over half (51%) of the population did something specific to celebrate Matariki and current indications are that this year the number should be higher.

“As part of Budget 23, the Government announced a further investment of $18 million over four years to build on last year’s initial momentum and to see expanded public awareness and understanding of Matariki.

“A key component of the 2023 celebrations will be a traditional ceremony at Mt Ngongotahā in Rotorua on Friday, and I’m honoured to be attending there.

“However, there are also many other opportunities to take part, ranging from community events organised by local marae, hapū and iwi, to family fun gatherings organised by councils, to individual whanau and families following this year’s theme of Matariki Kāinga Hokia Matariki calls you home, encouraging people to come home,” Willow-Jean Prime said.

The traditional hautapu ceremony at Mt Ngongotahā will be broadcast nationwide through Whakaata Māori, TVNZ and online on the website.  It will also feature pre-recorded events from around the country showcasing other tribal variations such as Puanga. 

Ngāti Whakaue have generously partnered with the Government to host this year’s live nationally broadcasted traditional hautapu.

“I am hugely appreciative of the efforts Ngāti Whakaue are making to host us, to share their aroha for Matariki with all New Zealanders and to increase awareness and education of its significance.

“And wherever New Zealanders are on the day, it doesn’t have to be a big-scale celebration - the key elements of remembrance, celebrating the present and looking to the future can be marked by anyone wherever they are.

“I invite everyone to join in this Friday, whether by watching the broadcast, attending an event, or simply looking up at the stars,” Willow-Jean Prime said.

Editors notes:

  • The pre-dawn hautapu ceremony at Mt Ngongotahā will involve remembrance of those who have passed, followed by the cooking of kai connected to stars in the Matariki cluster.
  • Steam will be released to feed the stars, and tohunga will look to the star cluster and share aspirations for the year ahead.
  • A list of some of the many other Matariki events, celebrations and ceremonies is available on the website and is being regularly updated: