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Special Puaka Matariki event planned

Media release –  09.05.22

Special Puaka Matariki event planned


This year, for the first public holiday to celebrate Matariki, Tūhura Otago Museum is working with the local rūnaka and the Dunedin City Council for a special community dawn ceremony that will open the festival.

 “The dawn reappearance of stars Puaka (Puanga) and Matariki signals the Māori new year, a time of celebration for iwi”, said Curator Māori, Gerard O’Regan. “It is also a time of reflection when we think about those whānau and friends who passed away over the previous year. That will be an important part of our dawn gathering this year where everyone in Dunedin is welcome to gather, remember, and start celebrating the new year ahead”.

The Museum is inviting the Otago community to send through photographs and details of their loved ones who have passed away in the last year. These images will be shared as part of a digital artwork on large-scale projections on the outside of the Museum building.

The ceremony will be led by mana whenua speakers, and there will be karakia, waiata, as well as kapa haka by the award-winning Waka Kōtuia group, before a free shared breakfast.

Those who wish to send in images of their loved ones can do so on the Museum website. The event will start at 7am on Friday 24 June on the Museum Reserve, and celebrations will continue for the rest of the weekend with poi workshops, taonga pūoro display and demonstrations, storytelling, Matariki themed planetarium shows including Mārama whetū, and a special makerspace where families can make a beeswax wishing candle and other crafts.

“It is wonderful to be working with mana whenua to create this cultural opportunity for our city”, said Otago Museum Marketing Manager, Kate Oktay. “We hope it will become a special new tradition of Dunedin coming together and sharing the celebration of the new season with our community”.


For more information, please contact

Kate Oktay, Otago Museum Marketing Manager

020 4197 1907