Workshop #Whetu: Tātai Arorangi – Māori star lore and where we are in the creation of the stars
This workshop will begin with karakia that will take us back to the beginning of creation from the Māori Universe view. It will then delve into the Māori star names, stories of the stars originating from ancient Hawaiiki, jouneys and how our ancestors traversed the oceans.
Stories will take us from central Polynesia, to Africa, Egypt, Papua New Guinea, Santiago Chile, Colerado and back to Aotearoa. We will look at star clusters or kahui Whetu with the help of technology and later on, the night sky.
Toa has advised on indigenous cultural approaches to a manned Mars landing & deep space exploration for the NSS (National Space Society) of USA at the ISDC – (International Space Development Conference, San Diego, 2015). Toa was also involved in the development, design and leadership with TAM – Te Ao Marama Centre for Fundamental Enquiry; a collaboration between New Zealand Astrobiology Network(NZAN), SMART Trust & Otago University, collaborating with Prof. Kathleen Campbell of Exobiology Branch, NASA Ames Research Center, at Auckland University.
Toa is a Mātauranga Māori specialist in Tātai Arorangi, Māori astronomy. In 2007 – 2008, Toa was the Maori advisor of the Carter National Observatory place in Wellington. In 2009, he founded The Society of Māori Astronomy, Research & Traditions (SMART) Trust, a national authority on Māori astronomy for which he continues to serve as Vice President.
Toa frequently delivers lectures in Astronomy, Celestial Navigation & Matariki (Māori New Year) content to wide audiences forwarding the mission of increasing the quality of cultural science education in the NZ curriculum through workshops, to primary, secondary schools, universities and knowledge hubs across New Zealand.