Want to spend the night under the stars without leaving the comforts of home? To commemorate the start of the Māori New Year, or Matariki, New Zealand is inviting the world to join them virtually to kick off the festivities with an inaugural stargazing livestream direct from one of the country’s most incredible stargazing locations – the Aoraki Mackenzie International Dark Sky Reserve.
Matariki is a special occasion in the Māori calendar where New Zealanders celebrate the start of the Māori New Year. Signified by the Matariki cluster of stars reappearing in the night sky, it is a time of celebration and reflection.
This year on July 21, 2020 (NZT), New Zealand will share this unique and special cultural moment with the rest of the world via livestream. Viewers will be transported to the Aoraki Mackenzie International Dark Sky Reserve, where host and former All Black Israel Dagg will shed light on the story, myths, and legends of Matariki, as well as the significance of this moment in the year, all under the magic of the Matariki stars and the New Zealand night sky.Aoraki Mackenzie is a gold-rated dark sky reserve and comprises of Aoraki/Mt. Cook National Park and the Mackenzie Basin of New Zealand’s South Island. In 2012, the area was formally recognised as a Dark Sky Reserve, formalising restrictions on light pollution that had been in place since the 1980s.
Steven Dixon, Regional Trade Marketing Manager, Asia, Tourism New Zealand, said that for Singaporeans who might not get the chance to truly enjoy stargazing here given Singapore’s bright lights and skyscrapers, this is an opportunity for them to feel like they are right there in New Zealand, sharing this unique experience with New Zealanders and people from all around the world.
Dixon added, “It will be a chance for us all to join together around the world and look to the sky, acknowledging the year that has been, in a moment of reflection and hope and turn our thoughts to our wishes for the year ahead.”
To join the livestream, follow Tourism New Zealand’s Facebook page and tune in on Tuesday 21 July, 5.30AM New Zealand time (1.30AM Singapore time), for the stargazing experience. Photos credit: Jack Austin and Mark Russell.