Porirua City Council
Working with the community to create a new sort of celebration.
Declared a new national public holiday in 2022, Matariki has become an increasingly popular event for all New Zealanders. Porirua City partnered with Storybox to help bring the Porirua community together to celebrate and learn more about the Māori New Year, and the stars that guide it.
At its heart—an animated family film projected onto the side of Te Rauparaha Arena, Hei Matariki tells the heart-warming and nostalgic story of nine children who have come together to celebrate Matariki their way. Each child is the namesake of a star in the Matariki constellation.
Storybox’s approach was to create something very authentic—a celebration by the community for the community. To achieve this, the team worked closely with acclaimed writer Patricia Grace (Ngāti Toa, Ngāti Raukawa and Te Āti Awa) and her granddaughter Miriama Grace-Smith (Ngāti Hau, Ngāti Maniapoto, Ngāti Toarangatira and Ngāti Porou). Together they created the script and illustrations. Local children and the Paekakariki Kapa Haka Group lent their voices to the story, as well as performing an original waiata, composed by Himiona Grace and Julia Truscot, who also composed the soundtrack.
The final film was presented in both Māori and English, which played on a continuous loop for audiences throughout the Matariki long weekend.