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Matariki Lights Up Winter Programme At Stardome

With winter skies offering the best conditions for stargazing, Stardome launches an epic celebration of the Māori New Year with a free open day, Matariki planetarium shows, and telescope viewing. In addition to all of their regular offerings, there’s a celebration of World Oceans Day, sci-fi films, a low-sensory hour, and psychedelic space rock.


Playing now, right through the Matariki season into July is Matariki - Ngā Whetū o te Tau Hou (The Stars of the New Year). From the comfort of a planetarium seat, viewers embark on a journey to ngā whetū (the stars) and beyond to uncover the purākau (stories) and significance of the Māori New Year. This planetarium film is perfect for those looking to celebrate Matariki, get a taste of Māori astronomy and the Maramataka, as well as admire the beauty of our night sky.

Matariki is a time for people to gather, to remember those who have passed, to celebrate the present and look to plan for the future. In the spirit of this kaupapa, the Matariki Open Day on Friday 28 June is an invitation to all residents and visitors in Tāmaki Makaurau to come and visit Stardome free of charge. Short 20-minute screenings of the Matariki planetarium film run from 10am-9pm. These shows are free but ticketed, and bookings are essential.

Playing every Tuesday night through the winter programme is Ngā Wāhanga o te Tau: Takurua (Seasons of the Year: Winter). This planetarium film expands beyond Matariki, to other bodies visible in the winter sky. Get to know the whetū (stars) of takurua (winter), and how they inform the way we interact with the taiao (natural environment).

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The Matariki star cluster, also known as Pleiades, will rise in mid-winter and marks the beginning of Māori New Year.

After a busy autumn in the cosmos with a solar storm providing many with a stunning view of the Aurora Australis the only other notable event in the winter skies is the conjunction on 14 August. For a few hours before sunrise, Mars and Jupiter will be visible in the sky.


Stargazing with telescopes – With the re-opening of the Zeiss telescope on Friday and Saturday nights it's never been so easy to go galactic. On a clear night people can expect to see four or five deep-space objects, accompanied by engaging commentary from an astronomy expert. But wait there’s more! Every night after evening shows Stardome offers several telescopes set up in the courtyard for your gazing pleasure. These are free to ticket holders and $5 for walk ups. All telescope viewing is weather dependent.

World Oceans Day – As part of the UN's World Oceans Week, Stardome is screening Sounds of the Ocean for two nights only on 5 & 6 June. This immersive 30-minute planetarium experience features whale and dolphin sounds, music, dance, and ocean imagery, offering a calming journey into the deep sea. Tickets are just $5, with proceeds supporting the Sustainable Coastlines charity in Aotearoa New Zealand.

Sci-fi at Stardome – Running fortnightly until the end of the year this series of iconic films offers something for everyone. Watch out this winter for Tim Burton’s Mars Attacks! and WALL-E. All sessions come with free popcorn.

Quiet Hour – Saturday 22 June at 9.45am. Offers a low-sensory environment tailored to accommodate individuals with autism or sensory and neurodiversity needs.

The Great Gig in the Sky is back for all space rock enthusiasts with regular screenings of Pink Floyd: The Dark Side of the Moon – 50th Anniversary Show. With the help of modern technology, the show combines breath-taking views of the solar system and beyond, played out to 42 minutes of The Dark Side of the Moon in surround sound, playing on 13 and 26 June.

The Stardome whānau complete with astronomers, educators and space geeks are all available for interviews on Matariki, space events and the public programme.

For more information visit: www.stardome.org.nz

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