Written in the stars

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Invercargill City Centre co-ordinator Kari Graber with some of the Tawhirimatea's Eyes which are on display at various retail outlets during the Matariki Festival.

BIGGER, brighter, better – Invercargill City Centre co-ordinator Kari Graber said this year’s Matariki Festival, being held along Esk St on Saturday, would most likely be even bigger and better than last year’s inaugural event.

Matariki is the Maori name for the cluster of stars, also know as the Pleiasdes or the Seven Sisters in Greek mythology, which are seen in mid-winter, and in Pasifika tradition is the beginning of a new year.

As well as an extensive craft market with more than 24 stalls and at least eight food trucks, there will also be interactive events, traditional carving demonstrations and displays of artwork.

An exhibition of Venture Southland’s Dark Skies photo competition will be held at the former ASB Building in Esk St, with 13 photographs by competition finalists on display as well as 13 images by photographer Stephen Voss.

A Stardome, which could seat 40 people at a time and used a central projector to project images of the solar system, galaxy and universe on to the inside surface of a dome, would be in the rear of the building from 10.30am to 4pm. However, because it was so popular last year, people would have to get a ticket for an allocated time, which they could acquire at the same place, Ms Graber said.

As part of the festival more than 500 Tawhirimatea Eyes kits, which included the story of the Tawhirimatea (weather god) whose eyes were part of the Matariki constellation, had been given out to children, with the completed artworks now on display at various retailers throughout the city, Ms Graber said.

For those who may have missed out, there would still be an opportunity to make some eyes, which children could then photograph with themselves at a photo booth set up in the former ASB building, with the potential to win prizes, she said.

As well as a variety of local musicians who would be performing, there would also be hula hooping and people would have the opportunity to learn how to use the poi they had made at poi-making workshops held from 10.30am to 12.30pm and 3pm to 4pm, she said.

Maori carver Steve Solomon would also be demonstrating his craft at the Esk St end of the Cambridge Place Arcade, where he would also be keen to talk about his work.

“All the empty shops in the arcade will be filled with activities as well,” Ms Graber said.

Matariki Festival, Esk St, Saturday, July 7, 10am-4pm. Free to attend. For more information, go to Invercargill Matariki Festival Facebook page or www.icc.govt.nz

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