Regional | Matariki

Luminary Lane: Auckland street lights up for Matariki

Taurima – a new series of light installations on Auckland’s Elliott Street - will become a Matariki Festival must-see because the crochet-like neon artworks floating above the street are spectacular, and because they uncover the street’s long culinary history.

Aucklanders and visitors will see pātaka kai [food storehouse] symbolism suspended above the street in quirky fluoro-neon art created by Lissy Robinson-Cole (Ngāti Kahu, Ngāti Hine), Rudi Robinson-Cole (Waikato, Ngaruahine, Ngāti Pāoa, Te Arawa), Ataahua Papa (Ngāti Korokī Kahukura, Ngāti Mahuta) and Angus Muir Design.

Taurima marks the street’s origins in hospitality. In 1987, archaeologists found Elliott Street was likely to have been a place of gathering food all along. They found evidence indicating people harvested and provided food here for the best part of 500 years.

Excavations found three ketu [wooden digging sticks] once used as gardening tools, fragments of harakeke [flax] for weaving, fragments of other wooden tools and a shell midden.

Radiocarbon-dated hīnau berries from the midden pointed to the influence of early Māori settlers in the Waihorotiu Valley from around 1400 to 1530.

500 years ago - and equally in 2023 - welcoming manuhiri [visitors] to one’s takiwā [region] is central to the role and responsibility of tangata whenua.

At the heart of this manaakitanga [hospitality] and welcoming is knowledge of your whenua [land] and moana [sea]. That knowledge allows you to sustainably manage your resources and extend care and generosity to all who have cause to visit.

One definition of the term Taurima is to treat with care. Taurima expresses this philosophy as part of Matariki ki te Manawa – Matariki at the heart - part of Matariki Festival.

Matariki is a season of celebrating and expressing the functions of sharing kai, but also serves to celebrate the special native and natural kai of Tāmaki Makaurau. You are invited to celebrate Elliott Street’s origins and its current eat-street vibe this Matariki season - via everything from street eateries to a bakehouse to underground restaurants and late-night hospitality.

Up to July 22, Matariki Festival will fill Tāmaki Makaurau with learning experiences, lighting splendour, storytelling, kōrero, music, art and much more. The Taurima installation will be up on Elliott Street until October, bringing history full circle.

Some of the activations for Matariki ki te Manawa are traditional, others are contemporary; all are deeply felt as we immerse ourselves in te ao Māori [the Māori worldview] and celebrate this special time of year.