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New Zealand to light up for Matariki

Matariki, the Maori New Year, te Tau Hou Maori, is a time to gather with family and friends to reflect on the past, celebrate the present, and plan for the future, and events to mark the occasion are planned up and down the country.

Nationwide, inspired by the Maori tradition of giving thanks for the harvest before replanting, Eat New Zealand has created Feast Matariki, Aotearoa's first modern-day national food celebration (June 18-July 8). It's an opportunity to recognise the amazing kai we grow, catch and make here, and acknowledge Kiwi manaakitanga (hospitality).

Whangarei is celebrating this special time of year with cultural events from performances, kai hakari and educational sessions to arts and crafts, events and exhibitions.

In Tamaki Makaurau, you can herald in the new year alongside iwi manaaki at the Matariki Dawn Karakia at Takaparawhau Bastion Point, fly kites for Manu Aute Kite Day in Orakei and Puketapapa, then at night enjoy Auckland Harbour Bridge's stunning light display. Watch short and feature-length films to better understand the stars, catch kapa haka performances, or dance the night away at Te Korakora, Takutai Square.

The Matariki ki Waikato festival begins with a dawn ceremony to commemorate the birth of King Koroki, then continues with events spanning the arts, music, hauora, taiao and education. The events are aimed to encourage recognition and grow awareness of Matariki, so now's a great time to get out there and learn.

In Rotorua, feed your mind with exhibitions and talks on each of the seven whetu (stars); nurture your soul with stories, dancing and singing with your little ones at the city library; be inspired by local growers and traditional kai at the Farmers' Market; or energise your body on a night bike ride under the redwoods.

In the capital, Te Whanganui-a-Tara, Mana Moana Digital Ocean is an immersive digital art experience that brings together more than 20 leading Maori and Pasifika artists. Ahi Ka — Live will feature performers, over two stages, singing and dancing around the flames and the Ahi Ka — Projection show, an incredible large-scale projection on to Te Papa Tongarewa.

Otautahi hosts its first Matariki fireworks display in July, set to a Kiwi music soundtrack, marking the climax of the Tirama Mai lighting event. Register for the lantern-lit family Matariki Night Walk beside Puharakekenui Styx River, then thrill to fireside stories and hot chocolates, or bling out your bike, helmet and self to cycle Hagley Park for the 10th annual Matariki Night Light Bike Ride.

Puaka Matariki Festival in Otepoti offers a citywide programme of community and digital events, including shared feasts, Toi Maori visual arts, music and dance performance. Celebrate this season of wanaka (learning) and whanaukataka (community spirit) in person or on the digital marae.

— NZ Herald

CELEBRATION: Tamaki Makaurau will herald in the Maori New Year with several events, including a light trail in Glen Innes. NZ Herald picture