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Matariki Festival – see the Matariki stars rise

Join Māori astronomy experts and view the Matariki stars

Published: 7 July 2020

There’s a new reason to get up before the sun.

We’re familiar with getting up early on Anzac Day and children are earlybirds on Christmas morning.

Now there’s another reason for Kiwis to get up early. It’s poignant and culturally significant. It’s Matariki. 

Next week Aucklanders are encouraged to get up before dawn and look towards the horizon in the north-eastern sky to see the Matariki stars appear, cloud permitting.

Look for Tautoru / Orion’s Belt (sometimes called the pot) with three distinctive stars aligned in a row. Move your eyes to the left where you will see Te Kokota – a chevron icon. Move to the left again to a small cluster, which is Matariki. 

Suggested vantage points are:

  1. Takaparawhau (Bastion Point)
  2. North Head, Devonport
  3. East Coast Bays – a high point giving a line of sight beyond Rangitoto Island
  4. Tāwharanui Regional Park
  5. Pakiri Beach
  6. Great Barrier Island

Auckland Council’s Matariki Festival comes to a close on 15 July, but not before the region celebrates the rising of the Matariki stars from Monday 13 to 15 July, ushering in the Māori new year.

Aucklanders can witness the Matariki stars alongside Māori astronomy experts at one of these two events:

  • Watch Matariki rise at Rangimatariki (cloud permitting) - Tuesday 14 July from 6am to 8.30am. Join storyteller Pīta Turei at Rangimatariki, Rosebank Domain. As dawn breaks, join the hīkoi out to Motu Manawa (Pollen Island) across the mud flats. Presented by Te Uru as part of Walking About, proudly supported by Whau Local Board.
  • Join Ngāti Whātua Ōrākei and see Matariki rise at Tirotiro Whetū (cloud permitting) - Wednesday 15 July from 6am to 7.30am. Meet at Takaparawhau (Bastion Point) where the Auckland Astronomical Society will have telescopes and binoculars available to help people see the Matariki star cluster. Proudly supported by Ōrākei Local Board.

And for those who prefer daylight hours, here are three dates and locations to see the Matariki stars projected onto the ceiling of a pop-up stardome:

Matariki Festival is proudly hosted by Te Kaunihera o Tāmaki Makaurau (Auckland Council) in collaboration with Waikato-Tainui, with the support of Vector Lights (principal partner) and Britomart (supporting partner).

Read more: Matariki Cultural

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