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Your Guide to the Tīrama Mai Displays


The Light Displays 

1 and 2: Tomokanga Portal

By Ariki Creative and Pixel Productions Ltd         

Tomokanga is created from LED panels that form the legs and arches welcoming visitors into Victoria Square—once called Market Square where Māori, particularly Ngāi Tūāhuriri from Kaiapoi, came to sell their produce at the markets held on the banks of Ōtākaro (Avon River). It is also the site of the ancient Waitaha pā of Puari. This digital artwork by Ariki Creative and Pixel Productions Limited invites you to walk through it as you enter and exit the festival, and like entering a portal, pass from one state to another.

Accompanying Tomokanga is a newly commissioned sound work, Hine-O-Te-Wai Ōtākaro, from the source of Ōtākaro (Avon River) to Hinemoana (the vast sea), composed by Mahina-Ina Kingi-Kaui, with keys by Pieta Hextall, violin by Anita Clark, Guitar by Kim Halliday and Mahina-Ina Kingi-Kaui playing Taonga Pūoro.

The intrepid journey of Ōtākaro connects all people of Ōtautahi Christchurch. This awa was a source of Mahika kai (to work the food) for iwi Māori (Ngāi Tahu, Waitaha) and provided the opportunity for tamariki to play in and around this vast river, as it meanders to Ihutai (the Estuary) and out to the sea. Mahina-Ina Kingi-Kaui composed this piece as a reminder to look to the past, in order to move into the future. The once pristine, clean, clear waters have been degraded and polluted by human activity. But we, as people, have the power to change that and restore Ōtākaro to a source of beauty, abundance and connection.

3) Ururangi Pou

By Ariki Creative and Pixel Productions Ltd       

Ururangi Pou was commissioned for the site as part of the 1990 commemorations of the signing of Te Tiriti o Waitangi. The six-metre-high pou, carved from a giant trunk of tōtara by local artist and master carver Riki Manuel was erected on the banks of Ōtākaro in 1994.

One of the stars in the Matariki cluster, Ururangi (Merope), meaning ‘winds of the sky’, is the star linked to atmospheric conditions, winds, and the sky and is associated with the various types of winds and the weather patterns each brings. Ururangi resides in the domain of Tāwhirimātea, the atua of the winds and weather.

For Tīrama Mai, Ariki Creative and Pixel Productions Ltd project light onto this symbolic and significant pou, telling us of the battle between Tāwhirimātea and his brothers and the anger Tāwhirimātea felt for the separation of his parents, Papatūānuku and Ranginui.

4) Purapura Whetū

By Ariki Creative and Pixel Productions Ltd     

Ariki Creative and Pixel Productions Limited have projected a contemporary digital Tukutuku panel onto a Christchurch Town Hall exterior section. A traditional and recognisable art form in Aotearoa, the latticework of tukutuku panels graces the inner walls of a wharenui or meeting house, representing ancestors of the marae and iwi.

Purapura Whetū acknowledges the abundance of whetū in our night sky. Taking patterns from Ngā Whetū, Ngā Manu and cross-stitching them together, the digital techniques, used by Ariki Creative to animate the images, reference the way in which tukutuku are woven together.

Keep an eye out for other tukutuku references throughout Victoria Square – you might see more, here and there!

5) Pāhekoheko Kinect Interactive

By Spectrum Lighting and Sound

6) Ata Pūao First Light

By Hōhua Kurene and Spectrum Lighting and Sound

Photographer Hōhua Kurene brings us Aoraki Mt Cook at dawn. The stars are still visible, and the air bites as the sun rises in the east.

7) Kā Ata Mariko First Light

By Spectrum Lighting and Sound

8) Muramura te Mahara Kāi Tahu Origin Story

By Lightsite with Ariki Creative

Actors: Ana Te Uruti and Taane Flanagan

Script: Hori Te Ariki Mataki with support from Lynne Harata Te-Aika

Sound Mix (Multi-Media Team): Damian Rarere

Back by popular demand, this 21m-long illuminated tunnel runs alongside the Bowker Fountain in Victoria Square. Walk through the dazzling light display and immerse yourself in the Ngāi Tahu origin story, Te Waitatatanga Mai o Ngā Atua by Kāi Tahu rakatira, Mataiaha Tiramōrehu.

9) Matariki

By Art Fetiche and Māui Studios Aotearoa

Matariki appears as a hologram of a powerful māmā looking over her 8 tamariki — Pōhutukawa, Tupuānuku, Tupuārangi, Waitī, Waitā, Waipuna-ā-rangi, Ururangi, Hiwa-i-te-rangi.

She is connected to health and well-being and is often viewed as a sign of good fortune or health to come in the following year. If the cluster and the Matariki star are bright and high in the sky, it is a signal of well-being, peace, and good luck for observers.

10) Kā Pakiwaitara Storytelling Zone

Live readings of Matariki stories and Māori legends will be performed around the Ngā Kōrero Pakiwaitara (Matariki storytelling zone), throughout the weekends of the festival, from 6-8pm. In between Pūrākau, come and enjoy the sounds of newly commissioned Waiata by local musician Henare Kaa, Hiwa I Te Rangi and Ōtautahi and Upoko Upoko Whiti Te Rā, composed by local musician and teacher, Kommi Tamati-Elliffe.

11) Te Arawhiti Light Bridge

By Spectrum Lighting and Sound

Te Arawhiti is a colourful illumination of the Victoria Square Bridge, which crosses Ōtākaro in the middle of the square.

Can you see any Tuna swimming beneath it? Did you know, Tuna were heavily relied upon by Ngāi Tahu tupuna, ancestors, as a source of kai and important events were often scheduled around the harvesting of tuna. Tuna are kaitiaki, or guardians, of our streams, rivers and lakes, and are used as environmental indicators.

12) He Ua Tūrama Light Rain

By Spectrum Lighting and Sound       

13) Te Atamira Performance Zone

Throughout the course of Tīrama Mai, entertainment from across Ōtautahi is here to enliven your evening on Friday, Saturday and Sunday – from kapa haka to fire poi, we think you’ll find something you like!

14) Ngao Matariki – Ka Tīaho, Ka Tūmanako

By Art Fetiche and Ariki Creative, Te Aotahi Rice Edwards, Eli Taueki and Hori Te Ariki Mataki with Rima, composed by Kommi Tamati-Elliffe

In traditional Māori carving a toki (adze) is used to carve through wood or stone. Ngao Matariki – Ka Tīaho, Ka Tūmanako utilises light, instead of a toki, by cutting through the darkness of each cube revealing colourful and important tohu (symbols) of Puaka Matariki:


Rigel or Puaka, the South Island variation of Puanga, is the seventh brightest star in the sky and is seen above Tautoru (Orion’s Belt) in the eastern sky in the early morning.

Te Kore – Te Pō

The infinite potential of Te Kore and the complete darkness of Te Po, the separation of Ranginui and Papatuanuku.

Te Ao Marama

The long light of day, the knowledge and wisdom shared since the beginning of time.

Te kete Mātauraka

Sharing and seeking new knowledge, the designs reflect taniko, kete and raranga with kowhaiwhai at the core symbolising whānau and community.

Mahika Kai

This design contains Tuna (Eel) a traditional staple food found in the rivers and streams of Otautahi (Christchurch) and Horomaka (Banks Peninsula), a reminder of our kaitiakitanga of natural resources.

15) Kā Pakiwaituhi

By Māui Studios Aotearoa                                         

An animated reel using the characters already created by Māui Studios, Matariki gives us some insight into the stars and their significance to Kāi Tahu in this short animation.

16) Pōhutukawa

By Miss Tino, aka Jess Collins                                         

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

Pōhutukawa (Sterope/Asterope) is the eldest child of Matariki. Her name is associated with the ancient Pōhutukawa tree that sits on the edge of Te Rerenga Wairua and is where our wairua goes once it leaves our body and travels through Te Ara Wairua to Pōhutukawa.

Pōhutukawa encourages us to take time to remember those who have passed, a key principle of Puaka Matariki, and to acknowledge their impact on our lives. A ceremony called ‘whāngai i te hautapu’ traditionally takes place when Matariki re-appears in the mid-winter morning sky. The ceremony involved cooking and offering food to the different stars of Matariki, along with conducting karakia (incantations). Those who died since the last rising of Matariki are honoured in the first part of the ceremony when people weep for their loved ones as their names are called out. One traditional belief states that when the names of the deceased were called out, Māori believed the spirits of the dead became stars in the sky.

17) Tūrama Aroraki Light the Building

By The Light Site                                         

18) He Whetū Whārahi A Starry Lightshow

By The Light Site                                           

19) Te Whenua Tūrama Radiant River

Installation by Season Event Design-ETS with Music by Motte.

Follow Te Awa Tūrama, with mesmerising lights along the riverbank of Ōtākaro accompanied by the serene and mesmerising music by Ōhinehou Lyttelton-based artist, Motte.

20)Te Poi me Te Tapu o te Mārama Move to Your Own Beat

Installation by Season Event Design-ETS                          

21) Te Tūrama o ngā Rākau Radiant Trees

By The Light Site                                         

22) Tīrama Mai

By The Light Site                                         

Thanks to the team at The Light Site this is the spot to take that perfect photo in front of our bold and beautiful Tīrama Mai sign. Gather your whānaunga and take a photo to remember what you did this Matariki!

23) Ngā Whetū, Ngā Manu The Stars Are Like Birds

ILLUMINATI – Abe Fisher and Ariki Creative – Taane Flannagan

Ngā Whetu, Ngā Manu signifies the ten stars in the night sky that mark the beginning of the new year celebrations: Puaka and the Matariki star cluster – Matariki, Pōhutukawa, Waitī, Waitā, Waipuna-ā-rangi, Tupuānuku, Tupuārangi, Ururangi, and Hiwa-i-te-rangi. Each star has a unique indigenous narrative and seasonal reference, such as mahika kai, the traditional foods, their sources, and methods of food gathering.

25) Mana Wāhine

By Turumeke Harrington and Rachael Rakena

KAKANA (Team Player)

By Turumeke Harrington

Referencing the eight generations of wāhine in Harrington’s whānau to her namesake, Ema Turumeke, KAKANA (Team Player) is a sculpture of grand, bright and luminous forms, huddled together as if bodies sharing secrets, knowledge or sacred information.

Made from materials you might see more commonly in a playground – powder-coated steel and acrylic panels – Harrington nods to te reo Māori name for the Avon River, Ōtākaro, (place of play) where children would play in the waters as their whānau and hapū would gather and trade goods along its banks. The powerful forms, act as Tīpuna, and illuminate a pathway to an unknown future, guiding generations of playful, powerful and provocative Kāi Tahu wāhine to come.

Turumeke Harrington is a Kāi Tahu artist based in Pōneke Wellington, living with her daughter and partner. She has a background in industrial design and fine arts. An interest in whakapapa, space, colour and material sees her creating large sculptural installations at the intersection of art and design.

Te Ara o Tākaro
By Rachael Rakena

Featuring Ngāi Tahu tohunga rāranga (Master Weaver) Reihana Parata QSM with her mokopuna, Koha-o-Rangi and Nukutawhiti, playing in the safe clean waters of the Ōtākaro river at night.

This work reminds us that Ōtakaro was once a pristine spring-fed river that was part of an interconnected network of traditional travel routes into a wetland ecosystem. The wetland was home to a large number of threatened birds and animals, including 67% of freshwater and estuarine fish, and 13% of endangered plants. Before the wetland was drained it provided a vast abundance of food, building and weaving resources. Wetlands serve as the kidneys of Papatūānuku maintaining water quality, capturing carbon, and regulating atmospheric gases.

The term mokopuna refers to the spring of descendants who will look into the clean clear waters of Ōtakaro and see reflected the likeness of their ancestors who dwelt there. Te Puna o Waiwhetū, the spring nearby, is named for the way it reflects the stars in the sky. At this time of Matariki, we acknowledge Waitī, the star connected to fresh water and ask ourselves, ‘Will we be the worthy kaitaiki our ancestors were?’

Kaitohu Rachael Rakena
Kaiwhakaataata Reihana Parata QSM, Koha-o-Rangi Mackey-Harrison-Parata, Nukutawhiti Mackey-Harrison
Kairapu kiriata / Kaihautū Kerepeti Paraone
Kaipuoro / Pūkengaoro Laughton Kora
Pūkenga Kākahu Reihana Parata QSM
Taonga Puoro Te Rawhitiroa Bosch
Kaihanga Patrick Paraone
Kaimahi Raymond Lum, Hēmi Baker
Kaimanaaki Kiri Jarden, Caitlyn Mackey-Harrison, Chantelle Mackey-Harrison, Kohine Mackey-Harrison, Cathy-Jade Simeon Rogers, Cecelia Rangiaho
Kaitautoko Ripeka Paraone, Te Pā o Rakaihautū, Jodi Cameron, Shipleys

26) He Hahana o Toi Ōtautahi Toi Ōtautahi Lightboxes

Individual Lightboxes By Conor Clarke and Joy Auckram, Simon Kaan and Kim Lowe

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In some instances, K is used in place of NG, often used as part of the southern dialect or mita of Kāi Tahu iwi (tribe). Different artists and different hapū (sub-tribe) will have different approaches to the use of the K over the NG.

And don’t forget to take this short survey and be in to win a night’s stay for two (with dinner) at the Crowne Plaza Hotel…

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