On July 20, 2020, from1:30 – 2:00 PM Eastern, New Zealand is, for the first time, inviting everyone around the world to share in a unique astronomical and cultural moment – seeing in the Māori New Year through a live-streamed journey of the Matariki stars.

Night Skies over Red Tarns Track, Aoraki, New Zealand. Photograph: Lee Cook

Live from the Aoraki Mackenzie International Dark Skye Reserve, one of the world’s 16 certified dark sky stargazing locations, Māori host and former All Black, Isreal Dagg will share the story, myths and legends of the Matariki star cluster which reappears in the night sky each year at this time.

Date: Monday, July 20, 2020, from 1:30 – 2 pm Eastern (Tuesday, July 21, 2020, from 5:30 to 6:00 am New Zealand)

 Live Stream Platform: Pure New Zealand Facebook Page

 Location: Aoraki Mackenzie International Dark Skye Reserve, Takapō/Lake Tekapo, New Zealand

Milky Way over the Tasman Valley CREDIT Lee Cook


  • Matariki is also known as Pleiades (its ancient Greek name) or the Seven Sisters. Modern astronomers refer to it as Messier 45 (M45).
  • Matariki, one of the brightest clusters in the sky, is located in a straight line north of Orion’s Belt.
  • Aoraki Mackenzie International Dark Sky Reserve is a 4367sq km block of land in the middle of New Zealand’s South Island with nearly non-existent light pollution and some of the best stargazing in the world.  

SCENIC AuroraOverCity CREDIT Dunedin NZ


  • The rising of Matariki marks the beginning of the Māori lunar calendar.
  • Matariki was also used by the crews of waka hourua (double-hulled canoes) to guide them across the Pacific.
  • Māori New Year is now celebrated everywhere across New Zealand from rural classrooms to corporate offices.

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