The stars will align at Ngaruawahia's Matariki Festival on 29 July.

The stars will be sure to make an appearance at this year's Ngaruawahia Matariki festival with the addition of a lantern parade.

Children from local primary schools and the Twin Rivers Art Centre holiday programme have been working hard to make star lanterns in time for the event on July 29.

Art centre manager Jane Stevens said the parade was inspired by a lantern festival in Dunedin.

"We're wanting to grow this as a Ngaruawahia lantern festival and wearable arts."

She said the foundation of event is the same with new elements.

"Matariki has grown exponentially over the last few years, it's recognition that this is indigenous, it's a way of expressing our own culture and that's important."

Stevens said the free event was about bringing whaanau together as well as learning about the meaning of Matariki.

"It's always been aimed at whaanau and tamariki.. we want the community to learn what it's [Matariki] all about."

"It's about a time of year where whaanau come close together and tell stories, it's also around the time to plant, to fish, there's a whole lot of deep meanings."

The parade will start with a blessing of the new mural on Jesmond St and lead up to the Memorial Hall.

Fire dancing, story telling, contemporary and traditional food stalls, face painting, stilt walkers and music will also be part of evening event running from 5pm to 8pm.

Local talent will also be celebrated with kapa haka performances and Stevens said an invitation has been put out to schools for students who wish to share poetry or a waiata [song].

Main image caption:Alyssa Phillips, left, Addison Conlon and Makaia Waitere hold some of the stars which will feature at the Matariki Festival lantern parade in Ngaruawahia on July 29.


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