Vector Lights for Matariki Festival 2023

Vector Lights
The rising of the Matariki star cluster heralds the beginning of the Māori new year. It is during this time that people acknowledge those who have passed on, spend time with their families and prepare for the year ahead.

Vector Lights for Matariki Festival 2023 tells the story of the festival’s iwi manaaki (host iwi), Ngāti Whātua Ōrākei and the theme Ahi Kā roa (burning fires). Take a look below at the narrative that accompanies the show in both Te Reo and English.

Ahi Kā Roa – Te Reo

Ko te ahi tērā he mea tiki e Māui i tana tupuna i a Māhuika.
Ka māmingatia a Māhuika e Māui tata pau te ahi.
Ka riri a Māhuika ka pangaa e ia tana maikuku mutunga ki te whenua kia toro ai hei mea patu i a Māui.
Ka whakamanu a Māui, kahore i mau.
Ko te mōrehu o te ahi ka mau ki roto ki ētahi rākau o te ngahere.
Ka tīkina atu aua rākau nā e ngā uri hei hika i te ahi.
He mea nui te ahi. Ko te ahi hei tao i te kai.
Ko te ahi hei whakamahana i te tangata.
Ko te ahi hei rama i te pō.
Ka kitea te paoa o ngā ahi o ngā pā kāinga i te awatea,
Ka kitea te mura o ngā ahi o ngā pā kāinga i te pō, ka mōhiotia he tangata kei reira e noho ana.
Ko te ahi kā tēnei. E kā ana te whenua, e kā ana te tangata. He tohu ora.
Ko tēnei mea te ahi kā roa, ko tō noho mau roa ki ō whenua.
Ko tō whakatupu kai ki ō whenua. Ko tō tao kai ki ō whenua.
Ko tō whakatū whare ki ō whenua.
Ko tō whakatupu tamariki, whakatupu mokopuna ki ō whenua.
Ko tō tanu tūpāpaku ki ō whenua.
Ko te ahi kā roa o Ngāti Whātua ki runga o Tāmaki kei te ita, kei te pūmau.
Kahore anō kia weto mai anō i te wā i te raupatu a Tuperiri ā-mohoa nei.
Kei te haere tonu, ā, ka haere tonu.
Hikaia ngā ahi o Matariki
Hikaia ngā ahi o Te Kahu Tōpuni o Tuperiri


Ahi Kā Roa – English

Māui obtained fire from his grandmother Mahuika. Through his trickery, fire was almost lost to mankind. Enraged, Mahuika hurled her last fiery fingernail towards the earth, at her grandson. Māui transformed himself into a bird to escape her fury. The last flickering flame smouldered in the forest trees. This is how man came to poses fire. By taking the trees to kindle new flames.

The power of fire is recognised and sacred. Fire is associated with cooking food, warming homes and lighting our way at night. Ahi is used to help in everyday life activities. During the day, smouldering smoke rises from our villages. And at night, the amber glow of campfire is a sure signal of life within the village. This is ahi kā - the fires of occupation. The land is alight with life and people. A sign of well-being.

Ahikāroa refers to the long burning fires of occupation. An enduring relationship with the land across many centuries. Where people cultivate gardens, cook food, and build homes. Where people raise their children and grandchildren on the same lands. Where loved ones are ultimately laid to rest.

Ngāti Whātua have maintained ahikāroa in Tāmaki for more than three centuries. The long burning fires of occupation are alight and steadfast. Since the time of Tuperiri, they have not dimmed and continue to burn bright.

What you need to know:

Starting from Tuesday 11 July and every night until 19 July, Vector Lights on the Auckland Harbour Bridge will shine in celebration of Matariki Festival with accompanying audio.  The show runs for six minutes and plays every half hour from 6pm – midnight.

  • The Matariki light and sound show will play from 11 to 19 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 ahead of each show.
  • You can watch at home a previous recording of the show. Visit us at
  • Share your experience on Instagram (@vectorlights) , Facebook and Twitter with #vectorlights
Vector Lights is part of a smart energy partnership between Vector, Auckland Council and Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency, the guiding light toward a smart energy future. For more information, and to listen to the soundtrack, visit  

To find out more about Matariki Festival’s full programme of events go to