Great Barrier Island to host first ever star festival to celebrate Matariki and its International Dark Sky Sanctuary Status.
Matariki is the Māori name for the cluster of stars also known as the Pleiades. It rises in mid-winter and for many Māori it heralds the start of a new year.
The world’s only island Dark Sky Sanctuary, Aotea/Great Barrier Island, is leveraging its star power to celebrate Matariki with a month-long festival.
The Matariki Festival will run from June 29 until July 31, with a range of events running throughout this period including:
- Art exhibitions
- Photography workshops
- Rocket making
- Astronomy talks
- Star gazing
- Moon dancing
- A twilight ball.
Closing out the festival is the chance to see Mars at its brightest and closest to Earth in 60,000 years with the exception of 2003, with Great Barrier’s pristine night sky making it one of the best places on Earth to get a glimpse.
Since being designated an International Dark Sky Sanctuary in June last year the island has fully embraced the status and as result has been attracting astro-tourists from all around the world.
There are also opportunities for amateur astronomers or those interested in space to build their skills - how to measure how dark the sky is at their own place; a night scape photography workshop; and a beginner’s astronomy course.
For the full list of events and how to book click here.