SOCIETY OF MĀORI ASTRONOMY RESEARCH & TRADITIONS
WHAT IS MĀORI ASTRONOMY
Māori are the indigenous people of New Zealand who had extensive knowledge of the night sky. The movements of constellations, the heliacal rising of stars, the arrival of comets, the phases of the moon and many other astronomical phenomena were noted and examined by them. This detailed astronomical knowledge resulted in Māori having a precise understanding of the seasons and helped the ancestors of the Māori people to navigate across the vast expanse of the Pacific Ocean.
Māori astronomical knowledge is known as tātai arorangi. Tātai arorangi was considered to be part of the body of knowledge known as kauwae-runga, this contained the celestial knowledge, the knowledge of the creation, the gods, stars and time. The teachers and specialists of Māori astronomical knowledge were known as tohunga kokorangi and tohunga tātai arorangi. Although communities had a general knowledge of tātai arorangi, only a select few were ever taught the more indepth information and given the responsibility to hold and use this knowledge.
WHO ARE WE AND WHY ARE WE INTERESTED?
SMART was formed in 2009 with the intention to preserve and revitalise Māori astronomical knowledge. Our group consists of Māori knowledge experts, educators, navigators and scientists. SMART has embarked on research and publications centered around Māori astronomical knowledge.
SMART consists of experts in Matauranga Māori Tatai Arorangi, Astrophysics and Celestial navigation. We are passionate about our Māori starlore, its preservation and revitalisation. We’re also passionate about empowering and propelling our rangatahi into a positive future. Our aim to spark memories and passion in others, through accessible knowledge transfer (Culture, Art, Audio visual & Cyber space).
Since our beginnings in 2009 with the International year of Astronomy, S.M.A.R.T. has sourced knowledge from astronomical educators, Matauranga Māori experts and research astronomers to create a trust that has been established to regain the long-neglected knowledge of New Zealand Māori astronomy.