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Matariki magic at Hamilton’s best loved locations

26 June 2023

Matariki celebrations are in full swing at Hamilton’s top visitor destinations, Hamilton Gardens, Hamilton Zoo at Te Kaaroro Nature Precinct, and Waikato Museum Te Whare Taonga O Waikato.

Manuhiri (visitors) will be entertained at all three venues with free events and activities, ranging from movie screenings to a star-themed scavenger hunt. (Standard admission applies for Hamilton Zoo.)

Hamilton City Council’s Unit Director Visitor Destinations Lee-Ann Jordan said the events plan complements the vibrant annual offering delivered by the Matariki Ki Waikato festival since 2009, and the Maanawatia a Matariki event being held at Hamilton Lake Domain.

“It’s wonderful to see our city come alive during the Matariki period as people engage with the significance of this special time of year. Hamiltonians are spoilt for choice, whether they want to explore nature at the Waiwhakareke Natural Heritage Park, learn more about New Zealand's only traditional Maaori productive garden, or enjoy the personal storytelling in ‘Taonga Talking’ at the Museum.”

Alongside its new exhibition ‘Taonga Talking’, Waikato Museum has a schedule of free events and activities, funded in part by the Matariki Ki Waikato festival. On Sunday 2 July Dr Oliver McLeod will be sharing his research into the geology of Pirongia, the North Island’s largest basaltic volcano. On the Matariki public holiday (Friday 14 July), Ockie Simmonds from the Society of Maaori Astronomy Research and Traditions (SMART) will be discussing historic paa site planning and the maramataka.

Bookings are open now for free guided tours of Hamilton Gardens’ Te Parapara Garden, a joint project between Nga Mana Toopu and Hamilton City Council. The garden showcases traditional Maaori practices, materials and ceremonies for producing and storing food, drawn from the knowledge of local Maaori which has been passed down through generations. 

At Hamilton Zoo, visitors can follow a fun scavenger hunt, learning the names and meaning of the stars in the Matariki cluster.

The schedule of events runs across the three venues until Sunday 16 July 2023. Visit to find out more and visit to view all of the Matariki Ki Waikato festival activities happening in the region.


For te reo Maaori, Hamilton City Council and its facilities use double vowels (uu) in place of vowels with a macron (ū) to represent a long vowel sound. This spelling approach is the preference of tangata whenua in Hamilton Kirikiriroa and Waikato iwi for te reo Maaori words. Artists’ titles are shown in their original form.