Drone show to tell Matariki story

More than 200 drones will become "pixels" in the sky for a Matariki light show. PHOTO: SUPPLIED
More than 200 drones will become "pixels" in the sky for a Matariki light show. PHOTO: SUPPLIED
The NZ International Science Festival (NZISF) is hosting a unique, free community event for Matariki weekend.

A Matariki Drone Light Show will feature over 200 drones, each acting as a "pixel" in the sky with lights that can change colour.

The show will take place at the University Oval at Logan Park on Saturday, June 29 and will feature drones flying in precise formation to create stunning images in the night sky.

NZISF director Jerome Cousins said after receiving a grant from the MBIE post-Covid-19 Regional Events Fund in 2022, it collaborated with New Zealand company Drone Sky Shows New Zealand and the Civil Aviation Authority to establish protocols for the show.

"When we started the process, there had not been a drone show in Aotearoa so it was new territory for all of us — the CAA actually had to create processes and forms from scratch for us which took some time.

"It’s so great to see that work paying off as drone shows start to pop up around the country."

The drones will tell a very local story in the sky, drawing on mātauraka Māori and environmental signals.

Artwork created by local Kāi Tahu storytellers Kitty Brown and Kirsten Parkinson will use the night sky as a canvas to tell a local tale.

The event will celebrate remembering ancestors, gathering with whānau, and appreciating the natural environment, Ms Parkinson said.

One of the country’s top taoka pūoro performers, Alistair Fraser, of Christchurch, will provide live music to accompany the aerial display.

Mr Cousins said he looked forward to thousands of Dunedin residents and visitors enjoying the event which will also include a night market, live music, and food trucks on Logan Park Drive.

The Drone Light Show will take place over the University Oval, with a safety zone extending from the Sargood Centre to Logan Park Drive and beyond the Otago University Rugby Football Club.

The event is free, with no booking required, but Mr Cousins encouraged people to visit the NZISF website to sign up for updates.

This will only be used for updates and then the email details will be deleted.

"It’s just for us to send you an email if there’s a postponement, if there’s any important information that you need to know."

The event may be delayed by up to an hour depending on the weather. A postponement date has been set for Sunday, June 30.

"Drone shows are very sensitive to weather, especially wind.

"So we want to be able to let our audience know if the plan has to change," he said.

Drone Show

New Zealand International Science Festival Matariki Drone Light Show: 

Saturday, June 29

5.30pm-8pm: Night market with food trucks and live entertainment

6.30pm: Matariki Drone Light Show starts

Sign up for information at scifest.org.nz