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Stardome gains long-term security

The Tūpuna Maunga Authority is pleased to confirm that the popular Stardome Observatory and Planetarium has been granted a long term lease at Auckland’s Maungakiekie / One Tree Hill through to 2034.

Maungakiekie is one of the Tūpuna Maunga (ancestral mountains) transferred to the thirteen Auckland iwi in a Treaty of Waitangi settlement in 2014. The land and the lease agreements within it are administered by the Tūpuna Maunga Authority.

Paul Majurey, Chair of the Tūpuna Maunga Authority acknowledges Stardome’s support for the Maungakiekie Maunga as an iconic taonga and important destination for Aucklanders and tourists alike. He says there are opportunities to explore that further.

“Maungakiekie is of course a site of immense significance to Mana Whenua, being the location of one of the largest Māori pā in pre-European times. A focus of the Authority now and into the future is enhancing the visitor experience through learning and education, about the significance of the Maunga, and also about Māori culture and the value of Mātauranga Māori (knowledge) especially in relation to the natural environment.”

“Stardome already has some great programmes around Matariki, and there’s exciting potential to further explore Mātauranga Māori in relation to the stars and planets, through stories of early navigation through to Maramataka (the Māori lunar phases) and its many applications in Māori life. What better place to learn that, than at Maungakiekie,” says Majurey.

During June, in celebration of Matariki, Stardome screens Matariki Dawn, a planetarium show which explains how to find Matariki and includes animated Māori stories connected to astronomy.

Stardome has recently produced a new planetarium seasonal show series called Stories in the Sky. It explores the ancient stories hidden among the stars, including a key focus on Māori stories and takes both a cultural and an astronomical approach.

Dr Richard Sorrenson, Chair of the Stardome Observatory and Planetarium says the lease renewal offers a great opportunity to expand their programmes even further.

"The Stardome Observatory and Planetarium has long helped Aucklanders and visitors to the city look to the night sky from the slopes of Maungakiekie. Stardome hopes it can broaden its gaze to include accounts of Māori understandings of the cosmos, as well as the local maunga, and looks forward to working with the Tūpuna Maunga to achieve this," says Sorrenson.

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