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Ātea a Rangi Star Compass Focus for Matariki

Twenty Hawke’s Bay schools will have the opportunity of having students take part in an educational programme at Ātea a Rangi Star Compass in Waitangi Regional Park this winter.

The Ātea a Rangi Educational Trust designed and completed the star compass in partnership with Hawke’s Bay Regional Council.   The Winter Solstice: Te Takanga o te Rā experience will be the first event to be held on the site.  

The 20 school classes will be bussed into the site during the week of 18 – 22 June where the children will have half-day lessons in a heated marquee in the carpark, and also help with wetland planting. They will learn about Māori astronomy, traditional navigation and Pacific migrations, local history and the environment.

“The primary schools we contacted were very keen to give their children this brand new experience at the Ātea a Rangi, and learn fascinating things about the world they live in,” says Phillip Smith from the Ātea a Rangi Educational Trust.

The venue will also be open to the public early each morning from 5.45am, for viewing Matariki and the winter Solstice sunrise (weather permitting). There will be a pop-up planetarium inside the marquee.  People will be on hand to explain how the compass works and about the movement of the sun, stars and planets across the winter sky.

On Wednesday night (20 June) a whanau night will be open to the public from 6.00 – 8.00pm. This will offer story-telling for children, star watching outside and, in the pop up planetarium, Kapa haka and tasty kai for the family (cash only).  A gold coin koha for entry will help fund a similar event for the Trust next year. 

A F.A.W.C. event at the venue on Thursday 21 June is already booked out.  Guests will enjoy tasting and hearing about the origins and migration of traditional Pacific food as the ancestors migrated through the Pacific Islands. 

To ensure the safety of children and the public during the Winter Solstice: Te Takanga o te Rā programme, the carpark at this part of Waitangi Regional Park will be closed to the public, although access to the river is still available using the normal entrance.

5 June 2018

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