For more than 6,000 years, throughout Europe and Asia, the dawn rising of the Pleiades star cluster, was the most significant and celebrated of events. The appearance of these stars, which are also known as ‘The Seven Sisters’, heralds the return of life following the harsh northern hemisphere winter. They marked the beginning of the year and the opening of the sea lanes. Great temples such as the Parthenon were aligned to their rising.
4,500 years ago the migrations into the Pacific began and, the traditions of the Seven Sisters, were carried into the Pacific by the Polynesians. To Maori, these stars are known as Matariki.
In the dawn of early June, Matariki, the Food Bringer, and her seven daughters, rise in the shoulder of Rangi to herald the beginning of Maori New Year. At this time we see all the posts that hold up Rangi. The posts are stars. They are the basis of Maori astronomy. Also at this time, in the south, the Waka of Tama-rereti is berthed in the eyebrow of the sky. The stars of this Waka are the basis of Polynesian navigation.
In this presentation we explore the ancient legends and meanings of Matariki. We also explore the physical nature of this cluster of stars and, weather permitting, take a tour of our evening night sky.
Bookings are essential. Fee: Adults $20, Seniors $15, Children $5.