The 2019 sestercentennial commemoration of Captain Cook's first visit, called Tuia 250 First Encounters, is a time to reflect on the skills and knowledge of the people who discovered and founded Aotearoa New Zealand.
Matariki was originally a solar celebration that marked the solstice and let people commemorate dead and think about new year. Matariki means the eye of the Ariki, as the small star cluster rises just before dawn in early June from the same point that the Sun rises on the north-eastern horizon. This heralds the Māori New Year: a perfect time for our journey of discovery to explore the significance of Matariki; to appreciate the importance of stars in early navigation; to paddle a traditional waka; to explore Cook's landing sites; to use 18th century navigation and charting techniques, and to see how they compare with modern marine navigation and charting.
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