Colourful paper stars against a blue background

Celebrate Matariki with the whole whānau with these fun activities

Home » Home » Craft & DIY » Celebrate Matariki with the whole whānau with these fun activities

1 January 1970

Reading Time: 3 minutes

From baking to easy crafts, get hands-on this Matariki with Suzy Cato’s star-studded activities for the whole whānau.

We celebrate Matariki, the Māori New Year, with a public holiday next year, and it will be the first time New Zealand has ever acknowledged the occasion in such a way.

What a wonderful time to bundle up a whole bunch of learning opportunities in a very special weekend with your whānau. Matariki gives us a chance to spend some time learning a little more about Māoritanga – Māori culture.

  • Just like many of the public holidays currently observed in Aotearoa, there is a great focus on the gathering of whānau and friends, and the sharing of kai, so maybe introduce your whānau to Kid’s Kai Kart on Māori Television On Demand and help your children prepare a meal with a Māori twist.
  • Matariki also opens up so many other avenues for learning. You’ll find a wealth of Matariki- themed picture books, chapter books and non-fiction books for kids in your local library and all good bookstores. Most libraries will also have a good selection of Matariki activities and events, from storytime to crafts – take your whānau and join in the fun.
  • Do you have budding astronomers in the family? Bundle up warm and spend some time in your backyard gazing at stars. Or, better yet, head slightly out of town to really benefit from a sky less effected by light pollution.
  • As Matariki is the celebration of the Māori New Year, maybe take the time to reflect on the year to date and look forward to what the rest of the year holds. Make plans together and set goals, in this time of new beginnings.
  • Know that each of us are stars in our own right. We will all shine in different ways and at different times, but that is perfectly OK.

Paper Stars

Colourful paper stars on a blue background

You will need

There are endless ways you can make stars with your whānau, but maybe start with this simple paper star using either:

Scrap paper

Wrapping paper





  1. Create 8 squares all the same size.
  2. Fold two diagonal corners of each square into the middle of the square, to make a diamond shape.
Folded square post it paper and a stick of glue on a blue background
  1. Apply glue to the bottom right of the unfolded corner of each square. Overlay the diamonds where glue is applied, so the points of each unfolded corner meet and the edge runs along the centre of the diamond below.
  2. Repeat until all of the diamonds are glued into place and you are left with an 8-pointed star.

Star cookies

Round biscuits with colourful stained glass windows made out of lollies

We’ve used this recipe to make biscuits, for nearly every celebration, for years.


125g butter, softened

1⁄2 cup sugar

1 egg

1 tablespoon golden syrup or honey

1 1⁄2 cups flour (more if using gluten-free flour)

Crushed boiled lollies


  1. Preheat oven to 180°C.
  2. Beat butter, sugar, egg and syrup (or honey) until creamy. Stir in the sifted flour, mixing until just combined.
  3. Roll dough out on a floured surface until 3mm thick. Cut into circles, then cut out small star shapes within each circle.
A child's hand holding a dough star biscuit in hand
  1. Place the cookies onto a baking tray lined with baking paper and fill each star shape with crushed lollies.
Round biscuits with star cut outs and colourful crushed candy in the middle
  1. Bake at until lightly golden and lolly crumbs have melted. Leave to cool on the tray until the lolly centres set.

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