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Pre-dawn Matariki Celebration at Pioneer Park, Alexandra

6 am to 8 am, Saturday 3rd July

Video by Andy Davey with photography by Clare Toia-Bailey

A wonderful Matariki celebration was enjoyed by those that braved the frosts in Pioneer Park, Alexandra. This was possibly the first morning this winter without morning fog or clouds so everybody was thrilled to get the first chance to see this treasured star cluster.

Spotting Matariki - Matariki Celebration in Alexandra 2021 - Photo by Clare Toia-Bailey
Spotting Matariki
Night vision - Matariki Celebration in Alexandra 2021 - Photo by Clare Toia-Bailey
Night vision
Spotting Matariki in the frozen telescopes - Matariki Celebration in Alexandra 2021 - Photo by Clare Toia-Bailey
Spotting Matariki in the frozen telescopes
Calculating the stars - Matariki Celebration in Alexandra 2021 - Photo by Clare Toia-Bailey
Calculating the stars
Jessa doing light demo - Matariki Celebration in Alexandra 2021 - Photo by Clare Toia-Bailey
Jessa doing light demo
Mary Ann helping kids with VR headset - Matariki Celebration in Alexandra 2021 - Photo by Clare Toia-Bailey
Mary Ann helping kids with VR headset
Checking out the VR headsets - Matariki Celebration in Alexandra 2021 - Photo by Clare Toia-Bailey
Checking out the VR headsets
Ready to go with VR - Matariki Celebration in Alexandra 2021 - Photo by Clare Toia-Bailey
Ready to go with VR
Trying out the VR headsets - Matariki Celebration in Alexandra 2021 - Photo by Clare Toia-Bailey
Trying out the VR headsets
Plotting the movement of the stars - Matariki Celebration in Alexandra 2021 - Photo by Clare Toia-Bailey
Plotting the movement of the stars
Learning about Matariki and Puaka - Matariki Celebration in Alexandra 2021 - Photo by Clare Toia-Bailey
Learning about Matariki and Puaka
Cool glasses - Matariki Celebration in Alexandra 2021 - Photo by Clare Toia-Bailey
Cool glasses
Checking out the glasses - Matariki Celebration in Alexandra 2021 - Photo by Clare Toia-Bailey
Checking out the glasses
Learning the stars - Matariki Celebration in Alexandra 2021 - Photo by Clare Toia-Bailey
Learning the stars
New glasses - Matariki Celebration in Alexandra 2021 - Photo by Clare Toia-Bailey
New glasses
Lining up with Matariki - Matariki Celebration in Alexandra 2021 - Photo by Clare Toia-Bailey
Lining up with Matariki
Lining up for the last sight of Matariki - Matariki Celebration in Alexandra 2021 - Photo by Clare Toia-Bailey
Lining up for the last sight of Matariki
I spy Matariki - Matariki Celebration in Alexandra 2021 - Photo by Clare Toia-Bailey
I spy Matariki
The team - Matariki Celebration in Alexandra 2021 - Photo by Clare Toia-Bailey
The team

Photos by Clare Toia-Bailey from Image Central

The morning included an experience with VR headsets letting the kids see the stars as they would of been seen from the waka voyaging to Aotearoa. All this made possible by Jessa & Toni, part of the magnificent Science Outreach team from Otago Museum.

Photos by Andy Davey

A second camera was set up on the hills above Alexandra which captured the rising of Matariki over the Manuherikia Valley.

This event included:

  • Telescopes – if it’s clear, we can look at Puaka and Matariki
  • VR headsets – a chance to see what the sky looks like from a waka (an animated drawing of one) in the middle of the ocean.
  • Planispheres – a large one to show how the sky looks different at different times of year, plus smaller ones that people can cut out and take home with them.
  • Informational panels and korero – meet the nine stars of Matariki and what each represents.
  • Poi and tī rākau – sharing of knowledge.

Matariki in Alexandra - Photo by Andy Davey
Matariki in Alexandra – Photo by Andy Davey