Hero photograph
Photo by Karen Parker

Star Compass

Karen Parker —

Mapping New Zealand back to Polynesian Explorers.

Over the past couple of weeks we have been have been working on the Matāuranga lessons and learning about how early navigators got to New Zealand.

We read about the navigation techniques taught from birth to the Polynesian navigators. We learnt how they used and memorised star compasses to help guide them through the ocean. As well as using the winds, currents and birds.

The star compass is split into 4 main sections- similar to a compass. The four sections are then split into 7 houses. Navigators memorise the stars that lie between those 7 houses and know which winds are associated with the direction and timing of those stars.

We learnt about the Kūaka and how they migrate to New Zealand as winter sets in in Alaska and they return to nest back to Alaska.

We learnt about the Polynesian explorers setting out following the cuckoo as the improved the distance their waka hauora could travel. We also learnt how Polynesian explorers invented blue water sailing a self sufficient type of sailing.

We read about great navigators such as Tupaia, Kupe and Captain Cook.