Activity: How do I find the Matariki cluster?

Become a stargazer this Matariki.

Gazing at the pre-dawn sky and seeing Matariki is a meaningful way to start the New Year. For your star-gazing occasion to be most successful, make sure there is adequate preparation beforehand.

  • Know how to find Matariki! Watch the video above with Hauiti Gardiner for clear and simple guidance on how to locate Matariki.

  • Map the main star formations out onto a wall that you can refer to with your ākonga in the days leading up to your pre-dawn stargazing adventure. Go over the constellations that you will see on a clear morning and how these will show where Matariki sits.

  • Ākonga may like to make their own mini stargazers. Use cardboard tubes (from tinfoil or baking paper) and cut a small cardboard disc to fit snugly into one end. Ask ākonga to draw one of the important constellations or clusters that we use for spotting Matariki, such as Tautoru, Te Kokotā, or Matariki, onto a disc.

  • Once the constellation or cluster is drawn on, carefully punch holes where the stars are, with a thick needle. Then place the cardboard disc in the end of the tube, and hold the other end against your eye.

  • Ensure that you research the time of sunrise and plan to begin Matariki stargazing at least an hour before dawn. Look at weather charts and overnight temperature records with your ākonga and discuss together what they might need to wear.

  • In 2023, Matariki will be officially celebrated on Fri 14 Jul, but you can celebrate it anytime between 11-17 Jul. You can check future dates for the Matariki celebration period on this downloadable poster from Te Wānanga o Aotearoa.

  • Alternatively, check out what is planned in your local area, marae, or neighbourhood and see if you, your class, or school can participate in the preparation or implementation of that community event.