Guiding stars

Ancient fallen logs have been transformed into a traditional navigation tool – a ‘Star Compass’ which provides not only guidance for waka but a stunning piece of sculpture.

Our harvesting crews in Maungataniwha uncovered around 20 old matai and totara logs that were felled and left to rot during the days of native harvesting back in the early 1900s. Even after many years on the ground, some of these logs were in good enough condition to be recovered.

Rayonier Matariki Forests gifted some of these beautiful native logs to the local Te Matau - a Maui Voyaging Trust.

They have built a traditional navigation tool called a “Star Compass” which is sited at the mouth of two rivers running between Napier and Hastings.

The Star Compass consists of 32, three meter high carved Pou, each Pou denoting various “whare” or houses.

The stars rise and set behind the Pou, and student navigators stand in the middle of the structures and learn to identify the constellations and the bearing that each star gives to guide their waka - the basics of celestial navigation.

The Trust has a waka hourua (traditional double-hulled sailing vessel), based in Ahuriri, which regularly sails around the Pacific Islands.

The Trusts vision is “to develop, educate and promote all aspects of waka voyaging within Aotearoa, Ngati Kahungunu and the Hawke’s Bay community, so that the knowledge is passed on to future generations.”

This is a fantastic site to visit especially at dawn or dusk if you are in Hawkes Bay.