Vector Lights for Matariki Festival 2020

Vector Lights

What you need to know:

  • The Matariki light and sound show will play from 24th to 28th June, 4th to 5th July and 10th to 12th July.
  • The show will repeat every half hour between 6pm and midnight.
  • If you’re watching a show live, make sure you listen to the synced audio that goes with the show. A ‘listen live’ button will appear on 30 minutes before each show.
  • The show will also be live-streamed on our Facebook page, so you can watch at home. Visit us at
  • Share your experience on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter with #vectorlights

The storyline:

The storyline for Vector Lights for Matariki Festival 2020 comes to us from Professor Rangi Matamua, recognised expert on Māori starlore and author of the books, Matariki – The Star of the Year and Matariki, Te Whetū Tapu o Te Tau.  In recent years, Professor Matamua has challenged the long held view that Matariki is a star cluster of only seven stars and has introduced the idea that there are other major stars in the cluster that were not previously spoken about.  Professor Matamua has provided a narrative for each of the stars this year’s presentation.
There are nine stars in the cluster of Matariki.  The brightest star in the middle is also called Matariki. She is said to be the mother of the other eight stars that make up this cluster.  Matariki is also connected to health and well-being. 
The eldest child in the cluster is Pōhutukawa.  Pōhutukawa is said to be the star of the dead and her responsibility is to guide the dead of the year across the sky, night after night, day after day preparing them for their last journey to become stars in the sky against the chest of Ranginui. When Matariki rose in the early morning during winter, our ancestors would weep to Pohutukawa sending their final wishes to the sky and their last farewell to those who had passed during the year. 
Tipuānuku means to grow in the ground and this star is closely connected to gardens.  It is said when Matariki rises in the early morning and Tipuānuku is shining very bright, it is going to be a good year to plant your vegetables and your kumara, kamokamo, pumpkins and anything else you grow in the soil will be bountiful.  Nau mai ngā hua o Tipuānuku.  Welcome the bounty of Tipuānuku. 
Tipuārangi means to grow in the sky and this star has an association to all of the birds that we see in the forest.  Māori would look for the star Tipuārangi and its appearance in the morning sky would determine what the birding season would be like. Tipuārangi has a very close association to the kererū or the wood pigeon that was harvested in great numbers during the winter months.  Nau mai ngā hua o Tipuārangi.  Welcome the bounty of Tipuārangi. 
Waitī is a female star and is closely linked to all bodies of fresh water, including lakes, rivers and streams. All of the creatures and animals that Māori collected and harvested from these domains are associated to Waitī. A person with a beautiful, sweet singing voice is said to have a “reo waitī” or a voice as beautiful as fresh, clear water. 
Waitā means salt water and this star is connected to the oceans.  In the early morning when Waitā was seen, its appearance would let people on the Coast know how bountiful fish would be in the impending season.  The appearance, brightness and colour of the star would let them know if their nets would be full of snapper and the kahawai would take the bait. 
Waipunarangi is another female star and has a strong association to weather.  Her name means “Water that pools in the sky” and her appearance in the morning sky will let people know if it is going to be a wet and rainy season.  Waipunarangi brings water from the heavens to fill the lakes and rivers and give life to everything that grows on the earth. 
Ururangi is a male star and is connected to the winds.  This star and its appearance in the morning sky will let people know if it is going to be a blustery and windy season, very important if you are trying to go out to the ocean to fish and undertake important activities like birding. Wind is a very important element within traditional Māori society and the phrase “E hoki ki ō maunga kia purea e ngā hau o Tāwhirimātea” means “return to your mountains and let your spirit be cleansed by the winds of Tāwhirimātea”.
The youngest star in the Matariki cluster is Hiwaiterangi.  Hiwaiterangi  is the wishing star and the ancestors of the Māori would look to the star during the winter months as a sign of promise and hope for the new season.  They would send their wishes and desires into the heavens in the hope that Hiwaiterangi would make them come true. 
Hiwanui, Hiwaroa, Hiwapūkenga, Hiwawānanga, Hiwaiterangi e. 
Matariki Festival is proudly hosted by Te Kaunihera o Tāmaki Makaurau in collaboration with Waikato-Tainui, with the support of Vector Lights (principal partner) and Britomart (supporting partner).
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