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Tīrama Mai Festival to Light Up Christchurch

Ngā Toi Māori, Visual Arts

A specially commissioned artwork and several interactive installations are set to be some of the highlights at this year’s Tīrama Mai festival.

The annual winter Puaka-Matariki festival of light, produced by Christchurch City Council, will be held in Victoria Square this year, with innovative installations lighting up the park, projecting onto surrounding buildings, and illuminating the Avon River Precinct.

The free event, powered by Orion and Connetics, runs from Friday 7 July to Saturday 15 July, beginning each night at 5pm and ending at 10pm.

Pōhoutakawa, one of the nine stars in the Matariki cluster, is the theme and name of a specially commissioned piece, designed by Miss Tino (Jess Rauora Collins) and created by Art Fetiche.

“Suspended above and two metres tall, the three-dimensional diamond whetū (star) will illuminate the pavements with pīwaiwaka (fantails) – the messengers of our ancestors,” says Ms Collins.

“Pōhutukawa is known as a kaitiaki (guardian) of our dead, looking after those who have passed in the year gone by and reminding us to hold tight to the memories of our treasured people. This is why, when Matariki rises in the early morning, we are called to remember those who have passed on and acknowledge their impact on our lives.”

Tīrama Mai will also feature several interactive installations by Spectrum Lighting and Sound. One for all ages to look out for is the Interactive Trees (Kā Ata Mariko) says Sheena Baines, the Events Department Manager at Spectrum.

“For this, we have been inspired by the audience’s ability to control colour and movement through their interaction. The audience member will push a unique series of buttons, each which will trigger pre-programmed sequences to run through the pixel strip lighting that outlines the trees.

“We are also bringing our popular Kinect (Pahekoheko) to Tīrama Mai for the first time, which will provide lots of interactive fun,” says Ms Baines.

“We have always been proud to be involved with Tīrama Mai, showcasing the art of lighting and celebrating Matariki through storytelling and lighting design.”

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