Solstice in Auckland, New Zealand, was yesterday, Friday 21 June 2013 at 5:04 p.m. NZST
Today is the start of Matariki celebrations:
The rising of the star constellation known as Matariki is an important time in the Māori calendar. It heralds in the Māori New Year, which is a time to connect with, and give thanks to the land, sea and sky.
It is also a time for the community to come together and acknowledge the year gone by, as well as, to celebrate and prepare for the year ahead. This involves the sharing of kai (food), rituals, entertainment, hospitality and knowledge.
Historically, the star cluster was a navigational aid for Māori and an indicator of the coming seasons. If the stars were clear, it was a sign that the year ahead would be warm and productive. If they were hazy and closely bunched together, then a cold year would be in store.
Pleiades, the Greek name for the cluster, comes from seven sisters of Greek legend, the daughters of Atlas and Pleone. This is reminiscent of the Māori and Pacific stories that say Matariki is a mother surrounded by her six daughters.
In Greece, several major temples face straight towards Matariki, as does Stonehenge in England. www.matarikifestival.org.nz
Jo has been in New Plymouth for the week so yesterday I attempted to capture Taranaki on the dot of Solstice.
Considering the entire country was taking a battering from a mighty winter storm I really wasn’t expecting too much. From afternoon onwards I was getting some superb views of the mountain. And, I managed a capture one second after Solstice ! (click on the images for an enlargement – you will see the capture times in the bottom left-hand corner)
Images captured from the very, very cool www.taranakivista.co.nz