South looks to the stars

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CHILDREN’S activities, cultural events, storytelling and a stardome are just some of the events being held this month to celebrate Matariki, the beginning of Maori new year.
Matariki is a small but distinctive star cluster which reappears in the northeastern predawn sky in late May or early June and traditionally marked the start of a new phase of life.
Also known as Pleiades, the Seven Sisters and Subaru, it is also used as the Subaru vehicle logo.
Short films, kapa haka and weaving demonstrations were held at the Southland Museum & Art Gallery last weekend.
Various events have also been held at the Invercargill City Libraries & Archives.
Community co-ordinator Jay Coote said 200 entries were received for the children’s art competition, some of which were on display in the library foyer.
‘‘We asked children to draw their interpretation of Matariki. Some of the art work is of a very high standard and the winning poster, which will be announced later this week, will be made into a library card.’’
An interactive Matariki viewfinder had also been created which children could look into.
Looking through the whare’s window viewers could see a landscape with a pa. Further on was the sun. The night sky could be moved to cover the sun and by turning on the miniature lights, the Matariki stars glowed.
Library graphic designer Book Ruffell designed the viewfinder from an idea by learning co-ordinator Bridget Duncan and it was made by Invercargill company Creativity-Plus, Mr Coote said.
It will be in the children’s section until the first week of July.
Other interactive activities include a kite (manu) making workshop today, 3pm-5pm, in the children’s activity space.
Next Thursday a stardome, a portable, full dome, digital planetarium showing the constellations, planets and deep space objects in a 360-degree digital theatre, will be set up at the Murihiku Marae.
However, Mr Coote said the event was now booked out, with more than 300 people registered.
He said he hoped the stardome would be back next Matariki.
‘‘We will open it for a longer period, and at a more convenient time for working Southlanders.’’

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