Man and boy walking through illuminated forest

Ara Mai! glows up Te Whiti Riser

Returning for the third time, join in this illuminated bush walk at the start of the September school holidays.  Now running over two nights thanks to its popularity.

Ara Mai! is a lead-in event for HighLight, Carnival of Lights, and aims to bring the joy and energy of Lower Hutt’s premier event to one of Lower Hutt’s best walks, the Te Whiti Riser track.

This event is all about connection – to our environments, communities and families – and about the journeys we take together. Participants walk up the track, divided into 5 zones each with a different theme and colour, to the summit, where they can watch the sunset over the harbour. Return through regenerating native bush, lit up with light decorations and performances.

On Friday night only, at the summit of the track, Kura Moeahu will share some of the local history of the area. Kura is Chairman of Waiwhetu Marae Trust & founder of Ngāurio Tamarau, a top kapahaka group here in Wellington. These stories are a taonga, passed down orally, and include the origin of many place names we use every day.

At the base of the Riser, providing an inclusive experience for all mobility levels, you’ll find a glowing forest in Waiwhetu Gym, and a large LED screen displaying photos from the track. There will also be a festival with music from Atiawa Toa FM, and food available for purchase.  Glow-in-the-dark facepaint, a sausage sizzle and hot chocolates are all available for a donation towards White Ribbon, HighLight’s charity partner for 2019.

Like HighLight, Ara Mai! can only happen thanks to a huge amount of community support; from our 124 volunteers, from local business, from our partner charity White Ribbon and from partners House of Travel Lower Hutt.

Thanks to House of Travel, participants will be able to enjoy Hot Chocolate at the event village and will go in the draw to win the amazing prize of a family getaway to the TSB Festival of Lights in New Plymouth.

The art and performances along the trail are community-created, and we’re excited to have the winners of the Atiawa Toa FM Ara Mai! Star Quest Talent Quest performing along the track. These emerging performers have also won a paid spot on the stage at HighLight.

Lanterns created at community workshops in Hutt City Libraries throughout September will be one of many light features, and murals created at Hutt Winter Festival will be displayed in a unique way under UV lights in the glowing forest at the event base.

As part of the HighLight family, Ara Mai! is on a journey towards zero waste. Lights on the trail are solar where possible and multi-use where not. Vendors onsite will comply with the newest waste regulations. We encourage participants to help us with this by bringing their own water bottles, torches and avoiding single-use plastic where possible.

Ara Mai! Te Whiti Riser Night Walk

Friday 27 – 28  September, 6 – 9.30pm
Te Whiti Park, Waiwhetu

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