Come celebrate the long weekend of the new Matariki holiday with us in the deep south, where night falls early in winter and our dark skies let us see the stars more clearly.
Matariki is an abbreviation of ‘Ngā Mata o te Ariki Tāwhirimātea’ (‘The Eyes of the God Tāwhirimātea’) and refers to the cluster of stars also known as the Pleiades. The rising of Matariki in the midwinter sky marks the changing of the seasons and the beginning of the Māori new year.
From Friday 24 to Sunday 26 June 2022 Matariki Arrowtown Lights will showcase Te Ao Māori in through light, colour and performance. Each evening after darkness falls, Buckingham Street and its alleyways and courtyards will come alive with light installations and projections from South Island Light Orchestra, the group of creatives behind LUMA in Queenstown Gardens.
You’ll be able to learn about the astronomical and cultural significance of the Matariki cluster of stars, enjoy live music and performances and the best of Māori cinema, or simply relax into the warm southern hospitality of our restaurants and bars.
Matariki Arrowtown Lights begins on Friday 24 June at 3pm at Buckingham Green with a mihi and karakia, and waiata from the Waiatatia singing group, followed by kapa haka performances by local school rōpū. Arrowtown Preschool – the community preschool that a decade ago launched Arrowtown’s Matariki celebrations as a fundraiser – will be once again be offering special winter treats like toast-your-own s’mores, hot chocolate and sizzling sausages.
After dark, Buckingham Street’s businesses and heritage features will be transformed with light and the playful movement of colour will lead you to the museum. Here, between 6pm and 8pm on Friday, one of the world’s pre-eminent astrophysicists Professor Brian Boyle will share his knowledge of the Matariki stars. Under Brian’s expert guidance, you’ll learn how to use your binoculars or camera to see or photograph the stars. He will also showcase some of his astrophotography, including photographs of the Matariki stars as you’ve never seen them before.
The celebrations don’t end on the Friday public holiday. Every night of the long weekend Buckingham Street will light up and the story of Matariki will be told through projections onto our heritage buildings, installations created by Arrowtown Primary School students and artwork at the Lakes District Museum.
Dorothy Browns Cinema will be screening Māori films, and our bars and restaurants will have live music and Matariki specials throughout the three days. Local businesses will be getting in the spirit with their own displays and some will stay open later than usual for the occasion. Finally on Sunday you will find the work of talented local artists and artisans plus local produce at the More FM Market, the Library Green between 10am and 2pm.
For more information and the event schedules head over to the Matariki Arrowtown Lights Facebook page or check out our Matariki event page. You'll also find lots of information about Matariki here on the Te Papa website.
Matariki Arrowtown Lights is proudly brought to you by the Arrowtown Promotion and Business Association in conjunction with the Arrowtown Charitable Trust and is made possible thanks to the generous funding and support of: Central Lakes Trust; Queenstown Lakes District Council; New Zealand Community Trust; Community Trust South; Te Hau Toka; Regional Events Fund including Southern Lakes Events Investment Panel, Destination Queenstown, Lake Wanaka Tourism & Tourism Central Otago.
Photos: Te Rōpū Tuakana o Te Kura o Kāmuriwai by Still Vision; SILO at LUMA by Tim Shoultz.
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