Observatory to mark Matariki

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By David Hill

Oxford is set to celebrate Matariki.

The Oxford Observatory is hosting a public open night on Friday, June 30, from 7pm to mark Matariki, the Maori New Year (from June 25 this year).

There will be $2 koha / donation entry fee, to help cover costs, but visitors are advised to check weather reports for viewing conditions before travelling to Oxford, or call or text James on 22-3641959 or Iceman 022-6402604.

Skies can be clear in Oxford and clouded in Christchurch and Rangiora and vice versa.

The observatory is on the Oxford Area School grounds, which is unique, principal Mike Hart says.

“We have a dedicated group of astronomy enthusiasts who are just dedicated to the observatory and providing learning opportunities and trying to connect people to astronomy.

“It’s very unique – you don’t see many schools with an observatory on site.”

This year is the observatory’s 10th anniversary and a public open night is likely to be held later this year to mark the occasion, Mr Hart says.

A similar event two years ago, centred around a blue moon, attracted around 400 people and included an art competition and other associated events.

“We want to do something similar later this year when there is a significant event in the night sky.”

The observatory may have other open evenings and can be opened for group and school bookings – for more information like the Oxford Observatory page on Facebook.