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Skyline News Detail

Celebrate Matariki with us!

Posted on Tuesday, 16 June 2015

Skyline Queenstown Stargazing would like to wish all our guests a very happy new year!

Why 'happy new year' in June? Because the appearance of Matariki marks the start of the New Year in the Māori celestial calendar.

Matariki is a small star cluster perched in the northeast of Queenstown’s pre-dawn sky and marks the start of a new phase of life. Celebrations begin on June 18th this year, as it is the first new moon after Matariki has risen.

The timing of Matariki’s rising and the particular Māori celebration is unique to Aotearoa. However, the Matariki cluster can be seen in many parts of the world, where it has a number of aliases: the Pleiades, Seven Sisters, Subaru and Messier 45.

History of Matariki

In ancient times, Matariki arrived at the end of the harvest and was a time of plenty for all Māori families. Matariki can be translated in two ways – Mata Riki (Tiny eyes) and Mata Ariki (Eyes of God).  Either way these delicate eyes are thought to watch over the land and its people.  When Matariki lights up the inky black velvet sky in Queenstown, it is a symbol for remembering the dead, but also for celebrating new life.

To find out more about Māori starlore, why not embark on Skyline Queenstown’s Stargazing tour and let our professional guides entertain you with interesting stories from Māori legends and beliefs.

Skyline Queenstown is offering a locals' deal for our stargazing tours throughout the month of July! Just bring proof of local residence and prepare to be amazed as our stargazing guides lead you through the mesmerising galaxy and beyond.

For the beginner photographers out there, we're also offering two very special Night Sky Photography Sessions. Learn to take great photographs of Queenstown’s stunning night sky from an experienced photographer with some great tips.

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