Te Whaanau Maarama: The Heavenly Bodies

Shines the spotlight on Maaori astronomy
Te Whaanau Maarama: The Heavenly Bodies

This ground-breaking exhibition shines the spotlight on Maaori astronomy and examines the traditional Maaori societal view of the night sky and how it is being revitalised in the modern world.

Te Whaanau Maarama is the family of light - the celestial bodies of te raa (sun), te maarama (moon), ngaa whetuu (stars) and hinaatore (moonlight). Placed in the sky by the god Tane they’ve guided Maaori across the Pacific Ocean and have played a pivotal role in Maaori agricultural, fishing, hunting, building - foretelling aspects of the coming seasons and weather conditions - and in ceremony, language and culture.

Supported by taonga, photographs and koorero, Te Whaanau Maarama opens the door on tuning into the stars and better understand the history and meaning of Matariki.

Part 1: The origins of Maaori astronomy and how the various bodies of light came to be in the sky.

Part 2: The connection between the stars and the earth, includes images of the stars and various traditional implements.

Part 3: Modern Maaori astronomy, in particular, the evolution of Matariki in the past 20 years. Te Whaanau Maarama will recreate Huiterangiora, the original house that contained the heavenly bodies, and this will serve as the platform for the exhibition.

Curated by Associate Professor Rangi Matamua (Tuuhoe), Dr Hemi Whaanga (Ngaati Kahungunu, Ngaai Tahu, Ngaati Maamoe, Waitaha), Dr Ann Hardy (Aotearoa) and PhD candidate, Hohepa Tuahine (Tuuhoe, Te Arawa) from the University of Waikato Te Whare Waananga o Waikato.

Image: Taupiri, photographed by Erica Sinclair. Image cropped for this website

Note: Waikato Museum and Hamilton City Council use double vowels in te reo to represent a long vowel sound as it is the preference of Waikato-Tainui.

28 Apr 16 - 13 Jul 18
Mon - Sun, 10am- 5pm
Waikato Museum
1 Grantham St
Ticket Info
General admission