The best places to spot Matariki star cluster around Aotearoa

NZ 23/06/2022

Friday 24th June will be the first time ever that we as a nation celebrate and observe Matariki as a public holiday.

The rise of the Matariki star cluster marks Māori New Year.

"It's also a chance for us to reflect on the past, to appreciate the present and to plan for the future" Robert Rakete from Breeze Auckland said. 

The best time to view the Matariki cluster is early in the morning, just before the dawn, between 5.30am - 6.30am. 

Matariki is found low on the horizon in the northeast of the sky.

Educator Hauiti Gardiner shares how you can easily locate Matariki cluster in the sky.

Matariki star cluster

Here's a technique to find Matariki in the skies:

  • If you look towards the EAST in the early morning sky, you'll see three stars parallel to one another sitting horizontally. The star between those two stars is called Tautoru.
  • Now look above Tautoru, there will be a bright star called Puanga. (Puanga is used to observe and acknowledge the new year, but may vary from iwi to iwi).
  • Next, look towards the right where you'll see the brightest star named Hinetakurua.
  • If you take a left from Tautoru you'll notice a pyramid shape in the sky which is Te Kokotā.
  • And then if you take a left from Te Kokotā you'll see Matariki.

Watch the video below for a visual explanation.

Here's a list of the best vantage points around the country:

Auckland

  • Takaparawhau, Bastion Point, 19 Hapimana St, Ōrākei.
  • Ōrewa Beach
  • Pick any Auckland mountain - One Tree Hill, Mt. Eden, Mt Albert, or any other maunga.
  •  Duder Regional Park
  •  Maungauika / North Head, Devonport

Bay of Plenty

  • Tauwhare Pā
  • Mount Maunganui

Waikato

  • Whangamarino Historic WALK

Wellington

  • James Stellin Memorial Park
  • Castle Point Lighthouse Walk
  • Tawatawa Reserve
  • Ataturk Memorial Park 
  • Waihinahina Park 
  • Homebush Park 

Canterbury

  • Lake Tekapo
  • Tasman Glacier Lake Track

Otago

  • Aramoana Heyward Point Track

If none of these locations are suitable for you, you can always try your local park - just avoid areas of high light pollution where possible.

Mānawatia a Matariki!