Story: Ranginui – the sky

Winter stars

To some tribes the new year in mid-winter was signalled by the dawn rising of Matariki (the Pleiades), while to others it was the rising of Puanga (Rigel). Takurua (Sirius) was also associated with winter. Along with other stars, Matariki, Puanga, and Tautoru (Orion's Belt) were important in the navigation of the Ngāti Kahungunu canoe, Tākitimu, to New Zealand. Taumata-kuku is the bright-red giant star Aldebaran.

In this sound clip Hirini Melbourne sings ‘Ngā whetū’ (the stars).

Sound file from Hirini Melbourne, Te wao nui a Tāne. Wellington: Huia Publishers, 1999

About this item

Astronomy NZ
Photograph by Chris Picking

Permission of AstronomyNZ must be obtained before any re-use of this image.

How to cite this page:

Rāwiri Taonui, 'Ranginui – the sky - The family of light', Te Ara - the Encyclopedia of New Zealand, (accessed 3 December 2016)

Full story by Rāwiri Taonui, published 12 Jun 2006