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Lyttelton, portal to Canterbury’s historic past, a vibrant sustainable community creating a living future

Project Lyttelton's Festivals



Ka Awatea - A celebration of Matariki 

Matariki celebrations will be at the heart of Lyttelton’s new week-long winter festival.
Matariki is the Māori name for the small cluster of stars also known as the Pleiades or the Seven Sisters and its appearance above the horizon mid-winter marks the Māori New Year.

Project Lyttelton is delighted to be collaborating with local iwi Ngāti Wheke, to present a range of activities and opportunities to learn more about Matariki themes of connection, renewal, tradition, culture and community. 

The new festival replaces the much-loved Festival of Lights which ran for 14 years.

The Matariki Winter Festival brings us back to community and connection and over the week will feature a diverse range of events, installations and activities that celebrate the creativity, diversity, culture and values of the Lyttelton community.

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Spring Festival of Change

Spring is a time for making changes. This festival encourages us all to think about a change we want to make and to give it a go, with support from others. We can share our learning, find out what is possible and learn to live in accord with our values. Spring challenges we have taken on include goals to do with waste, transport, food, health, exercise, wellbeing and social connection.

Cynthia  George on Onawe Hollie Hollander


Banks Peninsula Walking Festival

The Festival of Walking is held in and around Banks Peninsula in November each year. Up to 50 walks are scheduled from level downtown Lyttelton to the high tops of Mt Herbert. 

Lyttelton SummerFest

The SummerFest goal is to bring people together through the arts, music and broad appeal social events. We also list other community events in the programme to help promote all the wonderful things that are happening in our community this summer.

There are two new events in the SummerFest this year – a traditional kiwi community BBQ at The Grassy, and a day of creative taster workshops, offered by some of our amazing local arts and crafts people. We'll have the fifth Strange Bedfellows at Lyttelton Arts Factory, with a whole new group of artists mixing it up together and presided over by the inimitable Viktor Kropotski.


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Lyttelton Community Grown Dinner

In Autumn we celebrate the harvest with the Lyttelton Community Grown Dinner. For this meal, prepared by award-winning chef Giulio Sturla, of Roots Restaurant, the diners themselves must grow and provide the ingredients. Gathering for dinner together takes on a whole new meaning when the food served to us is 100% from within Lyttelton basin, the fruit of our own efforts. It is a time to reflect on the value of what we have and what is possible.



Lyttelton Harbour Kura: festival of learning

The Lyttelton Harbour Kura festival took place September 28th - October 6th, 2013 in various locations around Lyttelton Harbour. Around 40 workshops and classes made up the Kura programme, with a wide range of options including kids' drama classes, cheese-making, organic gardening, stiltwalking, dancing, singing and massage. This festival has now been incorporated into the Harbour Harvest Festival, and the Lyttelton TimeBank has offered many workshops and classes during "our year of education".

Festival Enquiries

If you want to get involved in any of our festivals or events, you can contact us on 328 9243 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


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SummerFest facebook page

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Matariki Celebrations

Matariki is the Māori name for a cluster of stars which is visible in the New Zealand night sky at a specific time of the year. Matariki re-appears in the dawn sky mid-winter signalling the start of the Māori New Year and the date changes each year according to the Māori lunar calendar.

Whakaraupo Carving Centre tutor Caine Tauwhare from local hapu Ngāti Wheke talks about the significance and traditions of Matariki here