Māori are the indigenous people of New Zealand, a central part of the country's cultural identity.

By Andrea Romano
July 19, 2020
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Matariki star cluster
The Matariki star cluster
| Credit: Courtesy of Tourism New Zealand

Even if stargazers can’t travel, those with their eyes to the sky can still see a stunning celestial event without leaving home this year. 

The Matariki star cluster, which signifies the Māori New Year in New Zealand, normally appears in mid-winter (or mid-summer in the Northern hemisphere) and marks old lunar year’s end — and this year will be livestreamed to Facebook. 

Māori are the indigenous people, of New Zealand and are a central part to the country's cultural identity, tourism company Pure New Zealand explains on their site.

Pure New Zealand will be livestreaming the celestial event on Monday, July 20 at 1:30 p.m. EST (10:30 a.m. PST) from the Aoraki International Dark Sky Reserve in Lake Tekapo, New Zealand. Follow along on Pure New Zealand's Facebook page. 

Hosted by former rugby player, Israel Dagg, along with experts Victoria Campbell and Dr. Rangi Matamua, the three will reflect will on the significance of the event as well as share related history and legends.  

While modern astronomers call the Matariki as Messier 45 (M45), the cluster actually has many different names around the world, including the “Pleiades” in Greek, the “Seven Sisters” in English, “Makali‘i” or “eyes of royalty” in Hawaiian, “Subaru” or “gathered together” in Japanese, or “Mǎo” in Chinese, to name a few. 

This star cluster can be seen around the globe but has special significance in New Zealand. Every year, the event is celebrated across the country, and this year will be no different for people who are lucky enough to be there.

The city of Auckland will host more than 100 events, while the capital city of Wellington will install spectacular light projections and live performances in the city to celebrate. In the South Island, people will be celebrating with community hangis — a traditional Māori method of cooking— workshops, and performances.