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Matariki festival moves to Hihiaua

Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

Matariki at Hihiaua will be held on 22nd June 2019 from 10am-3pm. Previously called the Matariki Whanau Festival, the event has been moved from last year’s Town Basin location due to construction currently being undertaken in the area. This free whanau festival will now take place at the Hihiaua Peninsula.

The move of Whangarei’ s largest Matariki event coincides with the opening of stage 1 of the Hihiaua Cultural Centre, a world class centre of excellence to preserve, create, display and promote Maori arts and culture. These significant community events combined create an atmosphere of excitement and celebration.

"Whangarei District Council is excited to collaborate with Hihiaua Cultural Centre Trust and a number of other community groups to deliver an amazing day for whanau to celebrate Matariki" says Whangarei District Council Venues and Events Manager Carina de Graaf.

The 2019 event will feature a full programme of entertainment on the main stage, with guest performers as well as kapa haka, kai, Matariki market stalls and other fun activities located in and around the Hihiaua Cultural Centre. Vendors and visitors will also occupy surrounding streets and the area towards the Waka and Wave sculpture.

As a highlight, Hihiaua Cultural Centre will host their Inaugural Art Exhibition featuring up to 50 prominent Ngāpuhi and other Māori artists exhibiting some of the finest examples of raranga, whakairo, painting, and mixed media. The exhibition will be held in the Centre’s new gallery and exhibition space and will be open to the public from Saturday 22 June.

Interaction with and between artists and practitioners will also be a key feature of the Cultural Centre opening with weaving and carving demonstrations, mural painting, live music and other exciting activities in the innovative new spaces.

The Hihiaua Cultural Centre Trust chairman Richard Drake says the trust has worked long and hard to meet and overcome all the challenges along the way.

"We are finally able to say we are extremely excited to see this become a reality for the people of Tai Tokerau and our visitors. We strongly encourage the community to come and enjoy the open day and experience the new space for themselves."

Carina de Graaf said Whangarei District Council was also proud to announce their vision of a zero-waste event.

"For our team this initiative creates a tangible connection to kaitiakitanga (to offer guardianship to the sky, land and sea) which is a key focus during the time of Matariki. The four key concepts at the festival will be Recycle - Reuse - Refrain - Compost. Some of the initiatives we will be implementing include use of compostable food and drink containers, providing compost buckets to vendors, no fizzy drinks, no plastic bags and thereby reducing the amount of rubbish left on site."

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