Glen Innes set to host Auckland's biggest Matariki event

Te Ara Rama, also known as The Matariki Light Trail is now in its third year. Since its inception, it has grown from strength to strength and has become a popular night attraction for locals and visitors of Glen Innes.

The event will be hosted by Ruapotaka Marae, Te Oro music and arts centre and Maybury Reserve.

Organiser, Te Rangi Huata says "I'm delighted to see so many people turn up each night, It makes all the volunteer work so worthwhile when I see happy smiling mums having a good time with their kids. That truly brings Matariki - the Maori new year alive for me".

Teams of local volunteers have hung up rows of fairy lights that now adorn Maybury Reserve.   

"It's going to be amazing when we turn them all on, around 250,000 or so", says Te Rangi.

"These tiny lights seem to somehow lift your spirits during these cold wintery nights." 

"We've installed temporary walkways so visitors can meander in a complete circle through the visual feast of light displays. These displays have been made here in Aotearoa and it's great to provide a platform for artists working in light. The displays are not highbrow are are aimed to provide delight and enjoyment. That's what Matariki is all about for me. Having a good time and not being too serious about it all," he adds.

The new Te Oro youth music and arts centre next to the Light Trail is running a series of art exhibitions, holiday dance and drama workshops and performances during this July week. Ruapotaka Marae is offering free kumara soup and rewena bread for visitors and hosting kiddies activities, face painting and interactive arts from 6pm nightly during the Matariki light trail season. This event is organised by HEART, a group that builds healthy families with a mandate to stop violence in homes. 

We felt Glen Innes was the best place in Auckland to set up an event like this because there are 10,000 people live within walking distance, there are no winter events there and it's got a dynamic Maori, Pacific Island and European/Pakeha community. A fertile place to grow an event ". 

The event is funded by Auckland Council, Maungakiekie Tamaki Board, Mount Wellington Foundation, Four Winds Foundation, Glen Innes PAK'nSAVE, Creative Communities Auckland, Te Puni Kokiri and Glen Innes Business Association.

Te Ara Rama kicks off this Saturday, July 11 for one week.