Our Wellington

News | 1 July 2021

Top spots for stargazing the Matariki cluster

Matariki is a special time in the Māori calendar (Maramataka) that brings the old year to a close and heralds the new year. Our amazing city has many stargazing vantage points. Here are five spots where you and your whānau can go to locate the star cluster.

A photo of the Matariki star cluster, with its nine brightest stars clearly visible, along with hundreds of others that make up the cluster, on a bluey black sky.
The Matariki star cluster, photographed by Stephen McArthur.

James Stellin Memorial Park 
In Northland on Tinakori Hill, James Stellin Memorial Park has stunning 180-degree views over the city to the harbour as well as neat night sky viewing opportunities.  

Tawatawa Reserve 
Tawatawa Reserve is a large flat grassed area that is dog exercise-friendly and is located on Quebec Street, in between the suburbs of Owhiro Bay, Kingston, and Island Bay.  

Ataturk Memorial Park 
The Ataturk Memorial Park lookout can be accessed from the Tarakena Bay car park on Breaker Bay Road.  

Waihinahina Park  
Located on Ladbrooke Drive in Newlands, Waihinahina Park is an open grassed area surrounded with regenerating bush – an ideal spot for stargazing Matariki on a clear night!  

Homebush Park 
Located on Homebush Road in Khandallah, this hidden playground down a gravel track has breathtaking views over Wellington harbour and the wide-open skies above. 

A map of Wellington with stars pinpointing five locations ideal for spotting the Matariki star cluster.

Where to look

 

Matariki is found low on the horizon in the northeast of the sky. Try looking there between 5.30am-6.30am.

To find the cluster, first find the row of three stars of Tautoru, or Orion’s Belt (or The Pot). To find Pūanga (Rigel) look above Tautoru until you see the bright star.

From therescan left until you find the bright orange star, Taumata-kuku (Aldebaran) and keep going until you hit a cluster of stars. That cluster is Matariki

To help with your stargazing quest, download our Matariki app for free by searching 'Matariki' in the iTunes Apple Store or Google Play.

Find out more about our Matariki app and the Marariki ki Pōneke Festival celebrations by visiting our Matariki 2021 webpage.