9 May 2024

Tīrama Mai is back this winter to celebrate Puaka-Matariki in the heart of Ōtautahi Christchurch.

The cultural festival, produced by Christchurch City Council, brings together an array of artistic, lighting and cultural displays, including performances and storytelling, says Manager of Events and Arts Lucy Blackmore.

“Tīrama Mai draws thousands of people to the central city, where an exciting trail of illuminated artworks, projections, music soundscapes, lightboxes and interactive installations can be discovered and enjoyed.”

This year, the event hub will be at The Arts Centre Te Matatiki Toi Ora, and installations will also be positioned along Worcester Boulevard, at Riverside Market and by Te Pae Christchurch Convention Centre near the Ōtakaro Avon River.

Opening on Friday 21 June and running every evening until Sunday 30 June, the event coincides with the rise of the Puaka and Matariki constellation, signalling Te Tau Hou – the new year in the Māori calendar. The displays light up from 5pm – 10pm. Attendance is free.

“A special part of the event is the storytelling and kapa haka performances on selected nights. We work closely with Ngāi Tahu to share local cultural narratives, and we commission a range of artists and creative agencies who interweave and impart that cultural knowledge through their works,” Ms Blackmore says.

On opening night, Friday 21 June, a kapa haka performance begins at 6.30pm in the North Quad of The Art Centre. There’ll be live storytelling sessions alongside kapa haka on Saturday 22 June, Sunday 23 June, and Thursday 27 June through to Sunday 30 June – running from 6.30pm till 8pm under the canopy next to Altiora (by the Hereford Street car park).

“We encourage people who are coming to Tīrama Mai to make a night of it – there’ll be food vendors by The Art Centre, and there are endless hospitality venues near the event,” Ms Blackmore says.

“Come together with whānau and friends to enjoy the Matariki period – a time for reflection, rest, cultural learning and celebration of the coming year.”

Tīrama Mai is just one of the many exciting events happening in Ōtautahi-Christchurch this winter. Check out What’s On for all the latest.