Space Place had the honour of hosting a worldwide screening of Ngā Tohunga Whakatere - The Navigators, simultaneously broadcasting around the world as part of Matariki celebrations as rights to screen the film are being purchased by planetarium internationally.
Ambassadors, voyagers, scientists, and representatives from countries including Sweden, the Netherlands, Hawaii, Tahiti, Fiji, Rarotonga, Australia and Aotearoa joined community and cultural leaders for the special screening followed by an international Zoom hui.
Discussions are currently underway with several planetariums worldwide about licencing Ngā Tohunga Whakatere - The Navigators. So far, the film has been licensed to Stardome in Auckland, two Hawaiian planetariums – Bishop Museum and Imiloa Astromy Centre – along with Launceston Planetarium, in Tasmania.
The Zoom hui was a way of acknowledging the power of indigenous knowledge and building understanding between Pacific nations on the first-ever Matariki public holiday. The session kicked off at 12pm, NZ time, where all participants simultaneously watched Ngā Tohunga Whakatere - The Navigators.
Lawrence Wharerau, who plays a navigator in Ngā Tohunga Whakatere - The Navigators, then hosted the Zoom hui which included the waka voyager community including Pacific Master Navigator Jack Thatcher (Ngāti Ranginui, Ngāi Te Rangi, Ngāti Pūkenga, Te Aitanga-a-Hauiti, Ngāti Awa) who Zoomed in from Tauranga, along with Tikanga Joe Harawira (Ngāi Te Rangi, Ngāti Awa, Ngāti Maniapoto, Tuhourangi).
Other participants included the Bishop Museum in Hawaii who shared their traditional voyaging and lunar calendar insights, while participants also heard from Sweden and their traditions in relation to Pleiades, the Matariki star cluster as it’s known in other parts of the world. Two Australian planetariums, also joined with Launceston Planetarium in Tasmania recently purchasing a license to screen Ngā Tohunga Whakatere - The Navigators.
Director Lala Rolls, who helped organise the event in conjunction with Wellington UNESCO City of Film, said it was amazing to hear the echo of our ancestors and their migrations in the sounds of our Māori and Pacific languages and in our understanding of skies, ocean and land. “To recognise the common experience of all sailors and islanders and to see new connections and practices grow from this seed.”
“I want to acknowledge that this could not have happened without the support and visionary capability of Experience Wellington, the organisation that executive produced and co-produced the film. And with the support of their wonderful planetarium, Space Place, that clings to a windy hill-top in Wellington, Aotearoa New Zealand.”