Maori Star Names

Compiled by C J Hilder URL: http://www.teapot.orcon.net.nz/maori_star_names.html

There are no definitive Maori names for particular stars. The various tribes often have different names and different traditions. It is probable that each tribe had its own names for something in the vicinity of 300 stars, with some names being used more universally throughout Aotearoa. These 'universal' names were often used for different stars by different tribes. To further add to the complexity of the situation, some stars were given different names at different times of the year, or when appearing in different parts of the sky. Several Maori star names have been recorded and published, most with no indication of which tribes made use of the names, and most not identified with specific stars.

This list has been compiled for the purpose of putting names to actual stars and groups of stars. Only published star names have been used, and only those that can be definitely identified with a particular star, constellation or planet. Where more than one name is known for a single star, constellation or planet, one name has been chosen and an attempt has been made to select the commonest or most representative name from those available in the literature. The result is a collection made up of names taken from more than one iwi.

This practice has been adopted in order to create a list of names that can be used as labels on a star map. It creates a one dimensional picture of what was once a complex system of inter-related names that were almost certainly used for many purposes besides those we know about today from the literature.

This list of names has been used as the basis for a bilingual Star Wheel, published on the web site Astronomy In Your Hands. This is believed to be the most comprehensive Maori star map published.

Due to the incompleteness of this list any additions that you might offer are welcomed. 

 

Autahi

Canopus

Kaikōpere

Sagittarius

Māhutonga

Southern Cross

Mairerangi

Scorpio (body)

Marere-o-tonga

Archernar

Matamata Kāheru

Hyades

Matariki

Pleiades

Ō-tama-rākau

Fomalhaut

Pīawai

The False Cross

Poutū-te-Rangi

Altair

Puangahori

Procyon

Puanga

Rigel

Pukawanui

Canis Major (triangle)

Pūtara

Betelgeuse

Ranginui

Beta Centauri (closest pointer)

Rehua

Antares

Ruawāhia

Arcturus

Takurua

Sirius

Tama-rereti

Scorpio (tail)

Taumata-kuku

Aldebaran

Tautoru

Orion's belt

Uruao

Alpha Centauri (furthest pointer)

Whakaahu kerekere

Pollux

Whakaahu rangi

Castor

Whānui

Vega

Whetū Kaipō

Bellatrix

Whetū Matarau

The Pointers (to the Southern Cross)

Whiti-kaupeka

Spica

 

Kapua Puehu o Tautoru

The Orion Nebula (M42)

Matanuku

Large Magellanic Cloud

Ngā Pātari

Magellanic Clouds

Ngā Pātari Kaihau

Small Magellanic Cloud

Te Māngōroa

The Milky Way

Te Pātiki

The Coal Sack

 

Sun

Marama

Moon

Whiro

Mercury

Kōpū

Venus

Papatūānuku

Earth

Matawhero

Mars

Kōpūnui

Jupiter

Pareārau

Saturn

Rangipō

Uranus

Tangaroa

Neptune

Whiringa ki Tawhiti

Pluto

 

 

 

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