Across Matariki, from the 19th June and running until the 31st of July, Pūkaha will be showcasing rich Māori heritage.
Go on the two-hour cultural tour, Te Hīkoi o Pūkaha and learn about Māori kōrero (stories), traditions and mythology from the ngahere (forest). Finishes with fry bread and Kawakawa tea. Available daily. See website for times. Advance bookings essential. Adults $65, Children $32.50.
Take a stroll to the whare whakairo (carving studio) and talk to kaiwhakairo (carvers) in action as they work on carvings for the reserve. The whare is free to access and located just to the right of the Visitor Centre next to the carpark.
Also free to enter it is the centre’s Kākā Café. Throughout Matariki the cafe will run specials inspired by Māori cuisine. Try their kumara, pork and watercress pie or the secret recipe mussel fritters. Younger visitors might like to try 'The Matariki Milky Way Drink-shake' - a designer concoction that mimics the nightsky and contains coca-cola vanilla icecream, blueberry syrup, whipped cream, white chocolate bits to represent whetu (stars) and a sprinkle of cinnamon.
If you enter the reserve then make sure you check out the new pou (signposts) that whakapapa to atua (gods), ancestors and the creatures of the forest. Rukuhia ngā whetu o Matariki – Find the stars of Matariki hidden near some of the pou and learn about their meanings. Complete the Matariki code phrase and enter the Matariki giveaway prizedraw to win some prizes for your tamariki and whānau.
Visit the Matariki display at the Visitor Centre and leave a message of hope, celebration or remembrance to inspire others based on reflections from your visit and the new information you've learned.