Things to do  |  29 May 2023

From dune planting to Whānau Day, there’s a fun-packed programme of events in store for Matariki and Puaka at the city’s libraries this year.

The Māori New Year is traditionally marked by the rising of the star cluster Matariki.

Christchurch City Libraries Kaitakawaenga, Māori Services, Maatakiwi Wakefield says this year, the star Puaka will share focus alongside Matariki in the Christchurch City Libraries’ celebration.

“Puaka plays a special role in the South Island, rising three days before the Matariki star cluster to signal the end of the old year. So, when Matariki rises, it signals the start of the New Year,” says Maatakiwi.

The network of libraries across Ōtautahi-Christchurch is offering a range of events and activities for the community to participate in – and most are free, with people welcome to drop in.

“We want to engage our community, and especially tamariki, in the story of Matariki and Puaka year after year,” Maatakiwi says.

“Bring the whānau along to Whānau Day at Tūranga on Saturday 17 June, or book in at New Brighton Library for a kōrero and planting session in the New Brighton dunes on Sunday 9 July.

“There’ll be lots of fun learning across the different events – it’s very hands-on for the older children and youth – with games, craft-making and tech-based activities. For the younger tamariki, we do a lot of waiata (song), story-telling, and all sorts of activities up on our feet.” 

The full Mānawatia a Matariki me Puaka (Celebrating Matariki and Puaka) event programme is available to view on the Christchurch City Libraries website.

Highlights include:

Matariki Wā Kōrero - Matariki Storytimes

These 30-minute morning sessions bring together storytelling, waiata (songs) and activities to celebrate Matariki and the Māori New Year – happening at multiple libraries across the city and at the Christchurch Art Gallery, for the month of June.  

Matariki Takiura, Matariki Wānaka - Whānau Day

Offering two activity-packed sessions – Wā Whānau (Family Time) in the morning featuring Loopy Tunes and Hangarau Taiohi (Youth Tech) in the afternoon with the Team from Auahatanga and DJ Danny-ill – there’s something for everyone at this Matariki-themed event at Tūranga. The sessions run from 10am to 12.30pm and 12.30pm to 2.30pm on Saturday 17 June.

Matariki Dune Planting

Beginning with a kōrero at the New Brighton Library, this special planting session is about replenishing nature and celebrating new beginnings. Come along on Sunday 9 July, from 10am to 12pm.

Other events marking Matariki and Puaka include:

Matariki ki Rehua – Whānau Day at Rehua Marae

Experience a day on the marae on Saturday 23 June, from 10am to 2pm, to celebrate Matariki with storytelling, crafts, and activities. There will be kai (food) and craft stalls to buy from too, so lunch is sorted.

Tīrama Mai

Immerse yourself in the wonder of Matariki at Ōtautahi Christchurch’s annual winter festival of light in Victoria Square from 7 – 15 July. The installations light up when the sun goes down at 5pm.

Matariki at The Arts Centre Te Matatiki Toi Ora

From Manu Tukutuku (kite making) to kapahaka performances, The Arts Centre Te Matatiki Toi Ora has a full programme of events scheduled for Matariki.