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Matariki of 100,000 lights

Crew working hard to set up for Tirama Matariki Light Glow which began at Queen Elizabeth Park last night. PHOTO/EMMA BROWN

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One hundred thousands fairy lights lit up Queen Elizabeth Park island last night to usher in the arrival of Matariki, the Maori New Year.

Known as Tirama Matariki Light Glow, it features 30 different lighting displays.

The man behind the light is Ngati Kahungunu Iwi events manager and Public Dreams Trust chairman Te Rangi Huata.

He is an expert when it comes to light shows having run the Fiesta of Lights in Hastings for 19 years.

Starting with only 1000 lights he has grown the inventory to 250,000 lights.

It takes three weeks to set up in Hastings, so with only three days in Masterton a portion of the lights will be on show.

After a few years of firework events to mark the arrival of Matariki in Wairarapa with not much success, it’s hoped the new light show will hit the mark.

The Masterton Miniature Train Society will also be running the train during the event.

Miniature Train Society vice-president Barry Stroud said many members are looking forward to seeing the Dg755 run during the evening which has not been done in 47 years.

“We’ve tried every trick in the book to set up Matariki in the Wairarapa, it’s been hard waka and a lot of work,” Huata said.

“Matariki is our own celebration which is embedded in New Zealand.”

The Masterton event will be the first to celebrate Matariki in New Zealand, kicking off a month of events and celebration.

Huata said he thinks that this year the event will work through the magic of the lights and the stunning venue.

“Out of all the light shows around, this venue makes it magical,” he said.

“It is stunning with the lake and environment … it’s like a lighthouse on the lake.

“The power of light sculptures is that they resonate with people – they feel very warmed and positive”.

He hopes the change in approach will bring success to the event.

“Share the lights and ignite the spirit within,” Huata said. “They will get it when they see the lights.”

Tirama Matariki Light Glow, today and Sunday from 5pm-8pm


  1. Congratulations and thankyou to all those involved in organising the Tirama Matariki Night Glow.
    A stunning display, perfect use of the QE Island,enjoyment for all ages,warmest welcomes and totally captured the spirit of Matariki togetherness.

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