Using data to help people celebrate Matariki

Using data to help people celebrate Matariki

In this increasingly digital world, success in website content and usability is reliant on understanding our audiences’ needs through data, user research, and Search Engine Optimization (SEO).
Our guest blogger, analytics expert Lana Gibson or ‘Lanalytics,’ is helping the Digital Team at Te Papa to understand our users to help improve our website. One of the first projects Lana helped us on was Matariki.
Rachael Hockridge, Digital Directorate


Whare Mātoro, Performing Arts Weekend for Rangatahi, 2016. Photographed by Kate Whitley © Te Papa
Whare Mātoro, Performing Arts Weekend for Rangatahi, 2016. Photographed by Kate Whitley © Te Papa

Matariki is the celebration of the Māori New Year. It’s a time when people come together to remember their ancestors, share food, sing, tell stories, and play music.

Te Papa hosts an annual Matariki Festival. Through free cultural performances and activities, Te Papa has played a large part in reviving annual Matariki celebrations in New Zealand in the last twenty years.

Te Papa also provides popular educational resources for teachers to use in their classrooms.

The Digital Team wanted to increase the reach and engagement of their Matariki content, helping to foster further awareness of Te Papa’s association with Matariki.

Matariki 2015

Last year Te Papa provided some Matariki content, which included education resources and festival events. In the diagram below we can see a clear spike to URLs that contain the term ‘matariki’ during the festival period. In June 2015 the pages had 21K sessions.


The Matariki Teaching resource page was the most popular page, accounting for 22% of all Matariki traffic. The Matariki waiata page also received significant visits.

Matariki 2016 (25 May–21 June)

Our analytics show that we’ve increased reach and engagement for Matariki content – visits during the June 2016 peak equalled 27K unique sessions, and accounted for 38% of all traffic coming to the Te Papa website. This was an increase of 47% from last year.

Graph showing website session for Matariki content 2016

The events were well-attended, but the website helped people engage with Matariki at home, on the move, and in the classroom. This is in part due to the team’s efforts in:

  • promoting Matariki to a new audience with homepage links
  • meeting demand in Google searches for Matariki
  • increasing the engagement of the existing audience with compelling related links
  • live-streaming performances so people can participate regardless of where they’re based.

Promoting Matariki to a new audience

Last year, only 300 people clicked on a Matariki link from Te Papa’s homepage, but this year, our clicks increased to 1.5K! This was largely a result of the homepage banner, which received almost 1K clicks in the four week period during June. The increase suggests we’ve introduced a whole new audience to Matariki.

Image of Te Papa website July 2016

Meeting demand in Google

The team wanted to create new, compelling content, informed by actual user demand, so we based new content on what people were searching for in Google.

For example the keywords ‘Matariki star’ and ‘Matariki facts’ both get 1K Google searches per month in New Zealand, so the content team created a page called Matariki star facts. This resulted in:

  • 3K visits to the Matariki star facts page (it became the 5th most popular page on Te Papa site!)
  • a 140% increase from ‘fact’ keywords from Google to Te Papa’s site
  • a 100% increase from ‘star’ keywords from Google to Te Papa’s site
  • almost half of traffic to this page coming straight from Google.

Searches for ‘Matariki facts’ in Google:

Graph showing searches for ‘Matariki facts’ in Google

Increasing engagement of existing audience

Last year the Matariki classroom resources page was really popular, this year it performed even better. Almost a third of Matariki traffic went to the resources page, and there were 9K downloads of the PDFs.

The majority of the audience to these pages seem to be teachers. We wanted to encourage this time-poor audience to explore other Matariki content on the site, so we put big, visual related links, at the bottom of each Matariki page. Over 800 people used these links on teaching resource page alone. They looked like this:

Screen show of related links on the Te Papa website

Live streaming

The Kaumātua kapa haka is the biggest Matariki event held at Te Papa. This year we had 4K unique page views to the two Kaumātua kapa haka event pages. These pages included embedded YouTube links to the live stream of the event. Traffic spiked over this weekend (25 and 26 June), particularly from Facebook and mobile devices. We thought the traffic was from people who were planning to come to the event, but data indicates that people were visiting for the live stream. We interpreted this because:

  • 80% of traffic came from outside Wellington
  • 20 people searched on-site for ‘live streaming’
  • video footage on Facebook had 21K views, 1K interactions and 500 shares without any paid promotion.

Facebook post promoting the live Kaumātua kapa haka event:

Screenshot of the Kaumātua kapa haka event in Facebook


Our analysis has revealed that we are reaching a broad audience of people who want to engage with Matariki at Te Papa. This includes teachers and kids in the classroom, people who want to watch celebrations while on the move, and those who want to engage from the comfort of their own home.

It’s exciting to see that we’re reaching new audiences through homepage promotion, Google and Facebook.

We’ll continue to look at user insights to find out how we can reach more people, regardless of whether they’re visiting the museum, and help everyone to experience Matariki festival celebrations wherever they are.

Lana Gibson



  1. Kia ora Rowena,

    Thanks for your kind comment. We really value our youngest learners and it is great to hear that our work has been useful 🙂


  2. I am a faciitator at Ohau Playcentre I have enjoyed and used your sites over many years always checking if there is something new, I can use with preschoolers from 0 to 6, or in informative displays for families. Thank you for the time and effort that goes into it.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *