Celebrating New Year on Wanaka’s lakefront is becoming as popular in winter as it is in summer.

Hundreds gathered for the 11th Kahu Youth Matariki event celebrating Maori New Year at the Dinosaur Park on Saturday.

Kahu Youth manager Richard Elvey said the event was also about bringing the community together.

“There are live local bands playing, a multitude of workshops, a community mural painting, face painting, the Bubble Family and the Death Cafe celebrating loved ones that have passed on.

“We have something for everyone from preschool-aged children to the elderly.

“It is magical. There are no commercial activities here from the hangi, which is koha, a donation,” Mr Elvey said.

All the hangi dinner ingredients were donated by local businesses and volunteers spent five hours at the Lake Wanaka Centre commercial kitchen on Friday night preparing the 720 individually packaged dinners.

The Matariki star cluster (Pleiades) signals the Maori New year and can be seen in the winter sky just before dawn.

Traditionally, it is a time for remembering the dead, and celebrating new life.

Mr Elvey has been the Kahu Youth Matariki event organiser in Wanaka since it started and said it kept getting bigger every year.

The event finished with a 25-minute fireworks display above Lake Wanaka.