Horowhenua Matariki Celebrations

Published on June 15, 2022

Matariki Puanga 2022.

Horowhenua will light up with more than 20 Matariki celebrations events around the district during June and July. 

It is the first year Matariki has been officially commemorated as a public holiday and we are ready to celebrate.  

Fun and educational Puanga Matariki events are scheduled from 24 June to 10 July. All events are free, and all are welcome. 

Matariki heralds the start of the Māori New Year, and we invite everyone to observe the occasion with us. Matariki is a special time to remember loved ones who have passed away, celebrate the present with family and friends, and to look forward to the promise of a new year.  

“The challenges of the past twelve months emphasise the importance of connection, unity, hope and celebration; values reflected upon during Matariki,” Council's Chief Executive Monique Davidson says 

“We warmly invite you to join us, with your friends and whānau, at our Matariki events. Let’s pause and celebrate the lessons and successes of the past year, and look optimistically towards the future.” 

Matariki is celebrated in a big way in Horowhenua, with this year’s celebrations to begin with Te Putanga mai o Matariki – Karakia at Punahau (Lake Horowhenua) with Muaūpoko at 5am.  

Cultural Outcomes Lead Aroha Pakau says “We have partnered with iwi to create a wide range of exciting activities this year. Whether it’s learning about Matariki at an iwi-led dawn karakia, bringing the tamariki to one of the many activities catered to them, or watching kapahaka performed by local groups, there’s fun for the whole whānau!” 

“Matariki is about being together with whānau and loved ones” says Di Rump, CEO Muaūpoko Tribal Authority. “Reflecting on the year that’s been, remembering and acknowledging those we have lost, as well as renewing and resetting aspirations for the year ahead. I love that we have this time, it makes us stop and really reflect on the way we connect to the past, the present, the future - and each other. It’s tika that there is now a public holiday to recognise the value and importance of taking this time out. Our programme just gets better and better - with heaps of opportunity for whānau of every age to participate. Muaūpoko are delighted to once again partner to support this annual celebration.” 

Local musicians are set to entertain crowds at Matariki ki Otāuru at Te Maire Park in Shannon on 3 July, along with games for all ages, a talent quest, and kai stalls. 

Puanga – Night Lights over Foxton will again play a major role in our Matariki celebrations. In 2021 the event attracted 3000 people who gathered to enjoy the sights, sounds and tastes on offer.  

“Puanga stands for 'abundant harvest,” Whare Manaaki whakairo carver Heemi te Peeti says. “Come and admire our Matariki exhibition in the Māpuna Kabinet Art Gallery, enjoy delicious food-truck kai and hangi, Māori arts, live music, a brilliant light show and fire poi whirling through the dark night.”  

Self-directed children’s activities at Te Awahou Nieuwe Stroom, Shannon Library and Te Takeretanga o Kura-hau-pō will run throughout Matariki. 

Other events include photography, colouring in and swimming competitions, puppet shows, movie nights, a rongoā display and a Harakeke Star workshop. 

Our annual popular Kapahaka and Community Kai event will return again in 2022 where all are welcome to enjoy Kapahaka before partaking in a delicious selection of hāngī, soup or seafood chowder.  

Further entertainment and kai will be on offer at our inaugural Taitoko Night Market. Revellers can expect community stalls featuring "Living by the Stars” Matariki merchandise, jewellery and rongoā, a light display and a Matariki-oke competition with fantastic prizes available. 

For the full Matariki events schedule, please visit our Horowhenua District Council Facebook page, our on the Matariki page or pick up a booklet at one of our community centres or Muaūpoko Tribal Authority. 

We look forward to eating, singing, reflecting and celebrating with you. 

Ngā mihi o Matariki, te tau hou Māori, ki a tātou katoa. 
Wishing you all a happy Matariki.