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Final pou at Atea a Rangi Star Compass for Solstice

Atea a Rangi Star Compass at Waitangi on coast Copy

The final stages of the Ātea a Rangi star compass are in preparation to complete this popular attraction at Waitangi Regional Park in time for the summer solstice.

The final pou are being completed by head carvers from the Ātea a Rangi Educational Trust, Nathan Foote and Phil Belcher, who have been teaching whakairo (carving) to Rangitane Taurima, Paora Puketapu, Te Kaha Hawaikirangi, Phillip Smith and Deon Wong over the last year.  

The final poles include four ‘Rā’ and four ‘Kore’ Pou, which represent points on the star compass used to group the rising and setting points of the stars, the sun and the moon.

A Waharoa (gateway) is also being completed for this final phase and is in the shape of a waka hourua (double hulled sailing canoe).

These will be installed at Waitangi and then welcomed at the summer solstice ceremony on Friday 22 December at 5.30 am.  Members of the public are welcome to join in the ceremony.

The dawn ceremony will mark the completion of a year long collaborative project by the Ātea a Rangi Educational Trust and the Hawke’s Bay Regional Council.

“It has been exciting for the Regional Council to work with the Trust to transform this area to an inspirational place celebrating the history of Maori and Europeans, and building community pride in this part of New Zealand,” says Hawke’s Bay Regional Council Chairman Rex Graham.

Phillip Smith, Trustee of the Ātea a Rangi Educational Trust, says he’s looking forward to seeing the star compass completed and moving into a next phase of education around the ātea a rangi.

“We have some exciting educational programmes we are organising for local schools for next year, we will also be looking to teach navigation to waka crews throughout the Pacific here” says Phillip Smith.

“The Ātea a Rangi is a tool that has been used to memorise the celestial bodies’ movements and navigate waka across the ocean for thousands of years, it has been passed down from generation to generation since the times of great explorers such as Māui and Kupe, so it’s important to pass this onto future generations.”

Phillip Smith says the site will also be used to provide information on the many historic events that took place around the area of the Waitangi Regional Park: “We have had Pat Parson helping us with historic korero for this area, which is rich in both Māori and European history, and sign posts will explain a lot of this to visitors and tourists to the site.”

The Waharoa and Pou have been carved from both fallen native logs generously supplied by Rayonier – Matariki Forests and from recycled power poles from Unison.

Rayonier Relationship Manager Mathew Croft says, “The whole team at Rayonier Matariki Forests are really proud to be able to support such a great initiative.  For us, seeing the transformation of the fallen native logs from the forest floor to a real asset for the local community is very rewarding.”

Unison Relationship Manager Danny Gough says,” Unison is pleased to see the poles put to such good use. We think the star compass provides a great opportunity to educate on Maori astronomy and traditional navigations, local history and the environment, all of which all add to the cultural richness of Hawke’s Bay. “


14 December 2017

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