Matariki and Navigation - Kupe, Cook and Today

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.

Roadside Stories by Ministry for Culture and Heritage

Roadside Stories is a series of audio guides that follow major road trips in New Zealand. The stories cover the places you’ll pass along the way – their people, their history, their cultural and natural significance.

The star compass – kāpehu whetū in The Science Learning Hub

Like the Sun, stars rise in the eastern horizon and set in the western horizon. Navigators who know the direction and position in which the stars rise and set can use the horizon as a compass. Knowledge of the night sky is the most important of the mental constructs of knowledge needed for wayfinding. The star compass was devised to help navigators memorise this knowledge.

Kupe in the Hokianga - Roadside Stories by Ministry for Culture and Heritage

Hokianga Harbour was the departure point of legendary Māori navigator Kupe when he returned to his homeland of Hawaiki. Kupe is said to have left behind two taniwha (water spirits), which guided the safe landing of later Polynesian arrivals.

The Canoe Is The People

The stars can never go wrong.
Thousands of years ago, when most sailors were still hugging the coast, the island peoples of the Pacific held the knowledge and skills to explore the great ocean paths extending far beyond their homes. Modern instruments didn't exist - no compasses, no radio, no radar (a system that uses electromagnetic waves to locate surrounding objects), no GPS (Global Positioning System, a handheld computer that tells your position by communicating with satellites). The Pacific peoples found their way across the ocean, guided by the wind, waves, stars, and sea life. Voyage into this website to find out more…
Includes teacher and student guides.

Journal of Captain Cook's Last Voyage to the Pacific Ocean

First hand account of Cook's last voyage, 1776 - 1780, from on board the Discovery (Cook was on board the Resolution). Contains details of the visit to Ship Cove / Meretoto on that voyage, including the flora and fauna as encountered by the crew at the time.

Ventnor Project

A project documenting the history and memorialisation of the SS Ventnor, which sank in 1902 with the loss of 13 people and the remains of around 500 Chinese men whose bodies were being returned from New Zealand to China for burial. In 2007 members of the early settler Chinese community were told the history of the Ventnor sinking from the Hokianga point of view. They were told that for some time after the sinking in 1902, remains had washed ashore and locals had carefully gathered them up. Some sets of remains were collected by Te Roroa and Te Rarawa, who buried them in their own ancestral burial grounds. A meeting with iwi representatives confirmed this was the case, and that knowledge of the remains and responsibility for care had been passed down from generation to generation to this present day.

Tupaia's Endeavour, on Māori television

A TV series telling the story of Tupaia. Artist Michel Tuffery, historian Paul Tapsell, and actor Kirk Torrance meet with Gisborne and Uawa-Tolaga Bay identities, anthropologist Dame Anne Salmond, waka hourua (twin-hulled voyaging canoe) crew, Tupaia’s descendants and others as they explore the Tahitian’s role during those early encounters in New Zealand. 

First encounters topic in National Library Services to Schools

This topic explores the First Encounters between Polynesians cultures (particularly Māori) and European explorers. The resulting cultural interactions had a profound impact on indigenous societies and also defined the New Zealand/Aotearoa of today. Collection includes images, books, articles, websites, videos, and audio.

Kupe - Voyaging By The Stars, in NZonScreen

According to Māori legend, Aotearoa was found by the explorer Kupe, chasing a wheke (octopus) from Ra'iatea, Tahiti. This 1993 documentary follows Northland building contractor Hekenukumai 'Hector' Busby, as he leads the construction of a waka hourua, then retraces Kupe's course across the Pacific, back to Rarotonga.

The Matariki Collection, in NZonScreen

Celebrate iconic Māori television, film, and music with this collection, in time for the Māori New Year. Watch everything from haka to hip hop, Billy T to the birth of Māori Television. Two backgrounders by former TVNZ Head of Māori Programming Whai Ngata (Koha, Marae) look at Matariki, and the history of Māori programming on New Zealand television. Seventy separate films/series from 1968 to 2011