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Exploring the Stars During Matariki in Wellington

Exploring the Stars During Matariki in Wellington

Matariki marks the rising of the Matariki star cluster in the sky and the new moon following the rising of Matariki signals the Māori New Year. A number of events and activities during the Wellington Matariki Festival explore the Matariki star cluster.

The Wellington Matariki Festival features more than 60 free events and activities fromSaturday 13 June to Sunday 12 July in the Wellington region.

Be up early on Saturday 27 June for a pre-dawn viewing of the Matariki star cluster from Tangi te Keo, Matairangi (Mt Victoria). Hosted by Carter Observatory astronomers, participants will use portable telescopes to view a real-time Matariki rising and local iwi will explain the significance of the cluster.

Discovering the stars of Matariki is a focus of the planetarium shows at the Space Place at Carter Observatory throughout the Festival with a special introduction to the stars of Matariki/Puanga, along with korero around the stories of the star clusters and a special ‘light’ gallery trail designed to keep young ones entertained. On Tuesday 23 and 30 June special tours will focus on stories of the Matariki sky and the Māori mythology surrounding this special star cluster.

Also at Carter Observatory, on Wednesday 17 June Lex French’s acclaimed Jazz Ensemble performs a new Matariki Suite inspired by Matariki and featuring a planetarium accompaniment of the Matariki constellation.
Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa has created a special Matariki design for Light Painting(18 & 25 June, & 2 July) – an interactive experience for participants to create an aura of light around themselves and take home a long-exposure photograph of the unique image.

Renowned astronomical educator Haritina Mogosanu hosts an evening of discovery at The Dowse Art Museum on Friday 3 July. Walk Amongst the Stars includes a presentation at the Lower Hutt War Memorial Library and a Star Party in Dowse Square.

Mahara Gallery in Waikanae presents two events for children linked to the Matariki star cluster. Matariki star weaving workshops are perfect for children aged from four years old and take place on Wednesday 8 and Thursday 9 July and Puanga Kai Rau, Matariki Tini Rau on Friday 10 July is a performance by tamariki (children) and their whānau using puppets, storytelling and taonga puoro (traditional intstruments and telling the story of the arrival of Puanga and Matariki in the winter night skies centred around a garden filled with magical characters.

For full details of all events, visit

Hutt City Council, Kāpiti Coast District Council, Masterton District Council, Porirua City Council, Upper Hutt City Council, Wellington City Council


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