By Ms Bernadette Haerewa, Senior School Dean and Year 7 Teacher
Our Girls’ School Maori Club have been focusing students learning on Matariki. They have studied the legends associated with this special celebration, and what each star in the constellation represents. To consolidate their learning and further investigate how to locate the cluster in the night sky, our rōpū visited the Stardome Observatory on Sunday 29th May.
Tawhirimatea, the God of Weather, was obviously grieving the separation of his parents, as it was a rainy and windy all evening. Not a single star was visible outside, but inside we were wowed with magical constellations glistening on the domed roof, as we relaxed into the reclined chairs of the Planetarium.
The hour-long show, Nga whetu o Matariki, included live, presenter-lead Matariki kōrero under the planetarium stars. The girls deepened their understanding about ngā whetū (the stars), ngā aorangi (the planets), and the many stories written on our night skies passed down from generation to generation. As well as the legend of Papatuanuku and Ranginui and the creation of Matariki, we heard about the legend of Rona and the moon, which explains the phases of the moon and the Tamarereti and his waka, which created the milky way. Creative animations really brought these legends to life.
The presenter taught us how to locate the cluster of Matariki in the sky, along with other constellations. We also learnt how to find the South using the Southern Cross.
The girls thoroughly enjoyed their educational trip, which included a treat to McDonalds before the show. Parents appreciated the chance to meet and students are now looking forward to share their learning with their peers at an upcoming assembly.