Christchurch’s inaugural Tīrama Mai lighting event will celebrate Matariki in the heart of the city and in New Brighton.
Zones within the central city and seaside suburb will be lit up from Friday 25 June until Saturday 10 July, with a series of innovative lighting installations, projections and illuminated artworks created by some of Canterbury’s best lighting artists.
Christchurch City Council Events and Arts Manager Tanya Cokojic says lighting events have proved popular in the city in the past and it makes sense to have a festival that marks New Zealand’s own unique culture and complements other Matariki events in the city.
“Tīrama Mai, meaning to illuminate or bring light, is the first time we have held a lighting event specifically to coincide with Matariki. We want it to grow to become a highly collaborative festival, with mana whenua guiding cultural elements and design.”
Residents and visitors to the city will be able to explore the lighting trails from 6pm - 11pm every night. Installations will be located around The Arts Centre, Worcester Boulevard, Victoria Square, Otakaro Avon River Precinct, New Regent Street and New Brighton.
Panels telling the story of Matariki will be put up in the central city a couple of weeks before the event starts.
Tīrama Mai will conclude with a Matariki fireworks display on Saturday 10 July in New Brighton.
“We’ve moved our big fireworks display, usually held each November, to July. Holding the fireworks earlier in an evening means families don’t need to be out so late and also allows people to visit New Brighton restaurants and cafes before or after the show.”
Ms Cokojic says over time the event will expand the current street theatre offering, and include exhibitions and exploration of moving image and projections.
“Ultimately we would like to expand into other areas in the Banks Peninsula and the city also.”
Tīrama Mai is just one of the events the Council has planned over the winter months. Other events include music festival Go Live! and KidsFest – which is celebrating 30 years of delighting and entertaining Christchurch children in 2021.
The Council is distributing a Winter What’s On? events guide to all Christchurch, Selwyn and Waimakariri primary schools, libraries and service centres and some cafes at the end of May, which will outline the many other events organisations are also holding over winter.