With huge musical talent and incredible storytelling taking the limelight in the lead up to Tāmaki Herenga Waka Festival, it can be easy to miss what else makes up a unique festival experience.
Craftsmanship and innovation are also at the heart of the Festival, with Māori businesses showcasing their services, products and works of art.
Hosted by the 19 iwi of Tāmaki Makaurau and Auckland Tourism, Events & Economic Development (ATEED), Tāmaki Herenga Waka Festival will be held on Friday 31 January from 5.30pm – 11pm on Captain Cook Wharf.
Auckland Mayor Phil Goff says the Festival will wrap up an exciting January for events in Auckland.
“Major events like the Tāmaki Herenga Waka Festival make Auckland an exciting and interesting place to live, bringing visitors to our city and helping to boost the economy,” he says.
“The Festival is a fantastic opportunity to celebrate Auckland’s unique Maori heritage and culture while promoting Maori businesses.”
Steve Armitage, General Manager – Destination at ATEED, says: “As Auckland’s economic development agency, and through the new direction set out in the Destination AKL 2025 Strategy, ATEED plays a key role in promoting Māori business across Tāmaki Makaurau.
“Not only that, Māori culture and heritage is part of our region’s identity and this festival further supports Aucklanders’ appetite for more authentic Māori experiences.”
Many of the Māori business operators are part of the Whāriki Māori Business Network, supported by ATEED, that connects, supports and advocates for Māori businesses in Tāmaki Makaurau.
Here’s a look at what Tāmaki Herenga Waka Festival has to offer:
Wāhi Tiaki Manuhiri - host lounge
The Wāhi Tiaki Manuhiri lounge will feature high-quality food and beverage products for the public to enjoy, providing a touch of sophistication to the fun street festival.
Taste buds will be tempted by a tasting platter featuring kina pate and smoked eel from Māori owned business Apatu Aqua Enterprise Ltd, Papa’s Kombucha, Taha sparkling tonic, and a range of wines from TIKI estate and award-winning winery Te Pā. Both companies are members of TUKU, the world's first Māori winemakers collective.
The lounge will also feature a stunning collection of intricately designed garments from Māori fashion designer Shona Tawhiao.
Pā Mahi ā Rehe - craft village
Pā Mahi ā Rehe is the craft village of Tāmaki Herenga Waka Festival, promoting Māori art and craft. Here festival goers will find a range of taonga (treasure) created by talented locals, from korowai Māori cloaks, to jewellery, paintings, clothing and skincare.
Kai Street, Drink Street and Sweet Street – our kai neighbourhoods
Follow tantalising aromas to our kai neighbourhoods, where delicious street food awaits.
Try Char’s Kai Basket - Mussel fritters, whitebait fritters, Taniwha burgers, ‘Boil Up’ and gourmet fry bread with a pesto topping.
Visit Puha & Pakeha – an institution of Auckland’s food truck scene, serving a fusion of Māori flavours and western cooking. Enjoy kumara and coconut bites with handmade sweet horopito sauce; a modern Māori Rueben Sandwich; Meringue infused with the sweet aromatic flavour of kawakawa – and so much more.
Experience the blend of two cultures and an evening boost at SaMāori Coffee.
And of course, hāngi will undoubtedly be a popular choice among festival-goers, served at a few different stalls, including The Hāngi Master and Mama’s Hāngi.