Nelson’s Matariki Festival returns to Founders Heritage Park on Saturday 3 July this year, for a community celebration featuring live music, food and electric performances as the star cluster Matariki appears in our skies.

The gates open at 3pm where there will be plenty of stalls on site at the Matariki Market selling arts and crafts, along with food and refreshments. 

A wide variety of food will be available for purchase, from traditional Māori kai, tastes of the Pacific, to Asian cuisine and Latin American spice with a side of Salsa and Merengue dancing.

This year’s annual Matariki celebrations will also have plenty of entertainment and performances from local Pasifika youth, kapa haka groups, fire poi, a light art projection and more. 

A performance by singer and songwriter Sianne Dougherty (Ngāi Tahu, Ngāti Tūwharetoa) will also feature and the evening will conclude with a fireworks display at neighbouring Neale Park at 7pm.

Keri Takao (Te Atiawa, Ngāti Rārua, Ngai Tūhoe) Te Reo Māori Teacher at Nelson Marlborough Institute of Technology and Te Ataarangi ki te Tauihu o Te Waka a Māui Inc, will provide a brief presentation at the Matariki Festival about the history of Matariki, the traditions that surround it, and how we celebrate it today.  

Head to the Energy Centre at 4:15pm to attend.

We encourage those attending the event to travel on foot, bike, bus or carpool. Please scan the QR code on arrival, and follow COVID-19 protocols, meaning if you are unwell, please stay at home.

There are also several other Matariki events happening in Whakatū Nelson.

Te Huihui o Matariki, Matariki Festival 2021

When: Saturday 3 July: Gates open at 3pm. The event starts at 4pm and will conclude at 8pm.

Where: Founders Heritage Park, Nelson

Cost: Gold coin entry

Healthy Streams

When: 30 June – 7 July 2021, Dusk onwards

Where: Poorman Valley Stream, Stoke, Nelson

What: The Ōmaio Project is weaving together knowledge and creativity to support and increase community care for the awa (streams). School and community artworks celebrating Matariki and the awa will light up parts of the riparian walkway and bridges from Sanctuary Drive, to Ōmaio/Stoke to Seaview Road.

More info: The Shape Nelson website.

Ngā Whetu o Matariki

When: Thursday 1 July, 5pm

Where: Trafalgar Street, Nelson

What: A kapa haka performance will commence at 1903 Square (corner of Trafalgar Street and Selwyn Place) and a series of glow in the dark art acknowledging Ngā Whetu o Matariki (The stars of Matariki) will be visible to celebrate the Māori New Year.

More info: The Arts Council Nelson website.

Nelson Public Libraries

When: Friday 2 July – Sunday 11 July, see the libraries' website for times.
What: The Elma Turner Library has various activities available for the community to celebrate Matariki. A seed and plant swap, kite and poi making, weaving, Riverside plant walk, along with Hilary and John Mitchell talking about their new book He Ringatoi o Ngā Tupuna: Isaac Coates and his Māori Portraits.
More info: The Nelson Public Libraries website.

Victory Community

When: Friday 2 July, 3.10 – 7pm

Where: Victory Community Centre

What: The Victory Community Centre will hold its annual Matariki celebration for the Toi Toi community. This year will include entertainment, lantern hīkoi and hāngī for $5. Take a lantern, torch and utensils.

More info: The Victory Community Centre website.

Te Wheke o Muturangi

When: Friday 9 July, 10 – 11am

Where: Māra Wheke Park, Ngā Whatu Sports Field, Stoke, Nelson

What: A children’s storyboard and interpretation panel about the iwi pūrakau (legend) of Te Wheke o Muturangi will be unveiled. The interpretation panel and blessing will conclude with light refreshments. If you would like to attend and for catering purposes, please RSVP to

Matariki Tree Planting

When: Saturday 11 July, 1 – 3 pm

Where: Sunday Hole, Maitai

This project will commemorate Kākati, the common ancestor of six iwi of Te Tauihu. Kākati is immortalised in the name of the Wharenui (Meeting House) of Whakatū Marae. This Matariki event is part of Project Mahitahi and will involve planting down the river esplanade to commemorate this connection between people and land. If you would like to attend and for catering purposes, please RSVP to

More info: Nelson City Council’s Facebook page