This year Ōpōtiki will celebrate the first national Matariki public holiday with more than a week of celebrations and events leading up to the final show and fireworks on Sunday 26 June.

Ōpōtiki District Council’s events team have been working hard to pull together a final calendar of events and activities and there are already 19 different events for locals and visitors to enjoy from 16-26 June.

Ōpōtiki i-SITE manager, Joseph Hayes, said that while Ōpōtiki had been hosting Matariki celebrations for four years, this year was looking bigger and brighter than ever, making Ōpōtiki the best place in the country to gather and celebrate Matariki.

“We feel like we really want to pull out all the stops this year after a couple of hard years of covid and lockdowns and not being able to host the sort of community events that Ōpōtiki does so well. So this year there is a strong community push to bring together a lot of local, national and even international talent for everyone to enjoy.

“We have stargazing, workshops, waka ama, ice skating, a Matariki Glow Show, some family-friendly and educational events at Te Tāhuhu o Te Rangi Opotiki Library, the Ki o rahi Whanau Fun Day and the famous fireworks and concert on the last night.

“We’ll have more information to share about the final show soon, but as a sneak peak, along with local talent we are also welcoming back Parson James and Maimoa to the Ōpōtiki stage.

“There are also plans at Terere Marae on the public holiday that will include star gazing, workshops, music and traditional Māori games. We look forward to sharing more on this and many of the other events that are planned over the coming weeks.

Mr Hayes wanted to thank the many community organisations that had come together to make the Matariki celebrations a success.

“It really feels like the event is owned by our community this year and there are just too many to thank by name. There are at least 18 groups – iwi organisations, businesses, charities, volunteers, service clubs and societies that are involved this year. Keep an eye out for the calendar of events and more information over the coming weeks,” Mr Hayes said.

The full calendar will be available in the first week of June.