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Indigenous Astronomy

"We cannot do anything but express our profound admiration for the achievements of the men of early times. Without them, we would have no foundation upon which to build our knowledge. I hope that it will be apparent that looking back into the records of the past can generate just as much excitement as looking at today's satellite pictures of the Solar system or listening to the echoes of the Big Bang".
Patrick Moore

In this section we will give information about and references to various aspects of Archeoastronomy, which relates to the astronomical aspects of time keeping, navigation, celestial lore, mythologies and world-views of ancient cultures.


Hidden Messages

Decoding the myths and legends from our ancestors

Author: Haritina Mogosanu. Reproduced from RASNZ Yearbook 2012, p29.

What happens when the traditions defining our cultures lose their meaning as they are removed from the context that created them? What if culture is really just a set of instructions assembled by our ancestors to make sure that we survive? Are not survival of the individual in order to ensure the survival of the species the first two laws of life?
When in Rome do as the Romans do. We follow traditions and rules: we cook in a certain way, we marry, give birth and bring up our kids following our own traditions. These are what define us as human and what makes us different while other things such as love, respect and loyalty remain constant no matter where we go.
The star lore was written a long time ago when humankind was still in the cradle. Stories our ancestors were telling 2,000 years ago about the stars were a naive attempt to explain the celestial phenomena.

Read more: Hidden Messages


What is Matariki?
Matariki is a small group of stars that are used by many Māori tribes (but not all) to mark the end and the beginning of the year. Māori's are not the only people to use these stars as a seasonal marker; these beautiful stars have captivated peoples all over the world, being a major signpost in the sky for many of Earth's older cultures.
In this section we will present information on the astronomical and cultural dimensions of Matariki, also known as the Pleiades or M45, and provide links to other websites about this important annual milestone in Māori culture in New Zealand.

Read more: Matariki