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Tīrama Mai is back for the second year from Friday and will run for the next 10 days.
Matariki marks the Māori New Year, which is held when the Pleiades star cluster rises over New Zealand in late June or early July.
The opening night of Tīrama Mai coincides with the first Matariki public holiday.
Cathedral Square and the surrounding areas will be transformed with a series of innovative lighting installations, projections and illuminated artworks, created by some of Canterbury's best lighting artists and creative minds.
The centre-piece will be a 21m illuminated tunnel which tells the Ngāi Tahu creation story.
Cirko Kali will also perform their aerial acrobatics and fire acts over the next two weekends.
-By Geoff Sloan
-Public Interest Journalism funded through NZ On Air