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Te Huihui O Matariki 2021 – A Family Night Of Fun And Entertainment To Celebrate Matariki16 June 2021

Nelson’s Matariki Festival returns to Founders Heritage Park this year for a community celebration featuring live music, food and electric performances as the star cluster Matariki appears in our skies.

The appearance of the star cluster marks the start of Māori New Year and a month of celebrations throughout the city.

Nelson City Council Kaumātua Ruka Katu said, “Matariki marks the season for harvesting, catching game and gathering kai, and it is a time when we remember loved ones who have passed, and a time to welcome the abundance of the new year”.

Nelson City Council’s Matariki Festival begins at 4pm on Saturday, 3 July, with an evening of family entertainment and food at Founders Heritage Park that culminates in a spectacular fireworks display at neighbouring Neale Park.

The event will open with a karakia and a mihi from kaumātua, followed by a welcome from Mayor Rachel Reese. Keri Takao will give a presentation about Matariki.

Among the performers are finalists for Te Matatini 2022, Te Kapa Haka o Kura Tai Waka, and Te Mana Kuratahi [national primary school kapa haka] competitors Te Pītau Whakarei from Nelson Intermediate School.

Te Rōpū Whakamanamana from Victory Primary School will also join the entertainment in an evening of music and performance.

Rounding off the night’s entertainment, one of Aotearoa’s rising stars will appear. Wellington singer and songwriter Sianne Dougherty (Ngāi Tahu, Ngāti Tūwharetoa) will perform live in the Energy Centre with Grove Roots before the fireworks at Neale Park begin.

Matariki is also a significant time for our Pasifika community, and CCCS Nelson / EFKS Youth Nelson (Congregation Christian Church of Samoa in Nelson) will perform as part of the entertainment lineup. Other entertainment will also include the Kahurangi Irish Dance School NelsonSon Dance and Entertainment.

In addition to the entertainment, a variety of food stalls will offer a range of food from different cultures for purchase.

Matariki has been growing in national recognition, and from 2022, it will be a public holiday. The first Matariki public holiday will be held on 24 June 2022, and this date will change each year, similar to Easter.

Mayor Rachel Reese said she was looking forward to celebrating Matariki with the community at Founders Heritage Park once again.

“This is a chance for the Whakatū community to come together to celebrate Māori New Year, reflect on the past and what’s ahead, learn about what Matariki means, and experience some of the amazing local and national talent on show. Bring your whānau, your warm coats, and prepare to settle in for a fantastic evening.”

Businesses or community groups interested in selling arts, crafts or food, or that would like to provide entertainment can register their interest online at



Matariki Festival

– Saturday 3 July, 4pm-7pm, Founders Heritage Park. Koha entry.

© Scoop Media

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