Ātea-a-rangi project to provide waka navigation education for students

By Aroha Treacher
  • North Island: East Coast

After four years the giant star compass project, Atea a Rangi, in Hawke's Bay has been completed and officially opened at a special dawn ceremony this morning. It's not only a tourist spot but an educational tool for celestial waka navigation. 

A dawn service was held to mark the completion of the only star compass this side of the world.

Navigator Piripi Smith says, “This is the day known as Te Ihu o Hineraumati, or the summer solstice, we have pou which represents each season of the year and they all are positioned for the sun, that's what our opening prayers signified today.”

It's 50m wide, with 32 pou, each one representing a point on a compass used to measure the rising and setting of the stars, sun and moon.

“The star compass will enable school children to come here that will be part of their learning curriculum for subjects like maths, science and history.”

The project has completely transformed Waitangi Park which was used an illegal rubbish dump by the public.

“I'd like to acknowledge the Hawke's Bay Regional Council and to my mentors Jack Thatcher, Stan Conrad and Hekenukumai Busy they are the ones who taught us of this generation.”