Thousands attend Arrowtown Matariki celebrations

Jul 15, 2023

From the Arrowtown Promotion and Business Association:

Last night, the main street of Arrowtown was filled with the spirit of celebration as thousands of people came together to honour Matariki, the start of the Māori New Year.  Friends and whānau gathered to reflect on the past year, pay tribute to those passed and embrace the blessings of the present.  The evening was filled with vibrant kapa haka performances, music, delicious kai, illuminations, and heartwarming traditions.

The formalities began with a heartfelt mihi (greeting), karakia (prayer), and waiata tautoko (supporting song) performed by Cory Ratahi and Ngā Manu Hou o Whakatipu, setting a powerful and meaningful tone for the evenings festivities.

As darkness fell, the historic buildings of Arrowtown came alive, bathed in captivating lights and projections. The talented South Island Light Orchestra (SILO) explored the essence of Matariki through their illuminations and projections, creating a visually stunning representation of this special occasion.  The illuminated street embraced fire pits, where people gathered to celebrate the spirit of Matariki and share stories, fostering Kā-Muriwai community and connection. 

Lisa Guy, Councillor of Arrowtown-Kawarau ward spoke to “The Matariki celebrations in Arrowtown created an enchanting atmosphere where the spirit of Māori tradition intertwined with the beauty of the night sky and our historic town.  It served as a reminder of our cultural heritage and provided an opportunity for the community to come together, celebrate, and embrace the new year with a sense of pride and unity.”

The festivities continued with mesmerizing fire dancing and the enchantment of fairies, adding a touch of magic to the evening.

Renowned astrophysicist, Professor Brian Boyle, once again took to the stage and enthralled the captivated audience that packed the street with his insights into the wonders of the Matariki stars, astrophotography, and the significance of Otago's dark night skies. His knowledge continuing to add depth and wonder to the event, allowing attendees to further appreciate the celestial beauty that Matariki represents.

Nicky Busst, Manager of Arrowtown Promotion and Business Association Manager (APBA) expressed pride in the success of this year’s Matariki celebrations "We are immensely proud of what we have achieved this year and delighted to witness the tremendous response from both the local community and visitors who came out in force to join in the celebrations.   We are hopeful that this important cultural event can now become an annual event.” Says Busst

 All images: Still Vision Photography 


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