What We Do - Events

Our special events.



We started this in 2010 as a casual evening event involving a community ‘international food’ pot luck meal in the Wanaka Arts Centre, attended by around 30 locals.

Matariki has now grown to become a large community event held in the Dinosaur Park on the lake front including two huge bonfires, performances from local primary and secondary students and kapa haka groups, cultural and workshops, interactive art workshops, a story corner alongside a hangi and spit which feeds over 500 people. The whole event is finished off with our massivee firework display! Large numbers of the local community donate their time and goods to help put on this great event.

Matariki is the Maori New Year and represents a time of renewal, a time to begin preparations for new crops as the days begin to grow longer. It’s a time of sharing, casting away of old problems and moving ahead with a fresh outlook. It is often celebrated with a feast.

When: Mid June each year. In 2016 the event will be held on Saturday the 18th between 2:30 and 6pm.

The Cardboard Boat Race and Polar Plunge

Boat Race

Every October we organise our annual, crazy, silly, fun Cardboard Boat Race and Polar Plunge down on the Lake front at the Jetty. Starting as part of the Wanakafest weekend but now running on their own, the Boat Race encourages young people to get creative and construct boats they can race in out of nothing but Cardboard and the Plunge is, well, a polar plunge in outrageous outfits! All activities involve various levels of youth participation from planning to execution, or just taking part.

When: October

Takin’ over Amigos


Starting way back in 2008 a group of 20 or more young people, under the guidance of the head chef and front of house manager, took over the running of Amigos, a local Mexican restaurant over four nights on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Now a regular annual fixture every winter and not only offers a fantastic opportunity for young people to learn a new skill but has raised thousands of dollars for the Kahu Youth Trust. The restaurant is open to the public for these nights, so come and join in yourself or have a delicious meal to support us as half of everything you spend gets donated to Kahu Youth! Call Amigos on (03) 443 7872 to find out the dates and book in a table!

When: May / Early June every year

Youth Week

New Zealand’s national week celebrating of all things youth. The week involves games days at the school for lower school students plus various activities and small youth led events.

When: May

Youth Volunteer Awards

Our Annual awards ceremony celebrating all the good things young people do in the Upper Clutha Region through the year, quietly in the background,  without asking for anything in return.
Started in 2014, the awards are for those aged 18 and younger and come in 5 categories:
12 and under, 14 and under, 16 and under, 18 and under and Supreme winner. 
Judging is done by a group of local young people with the names and sex of the nominees removed to ensure impartiality. It is inspiring to read the tons of nominations we receive. Young people are awesome!

When: Early December