World Oceans Day and Matariki

I have just found out about World Oceans Day - June 8 - a day to honour and protect the oceans.  Despite the great vastness and apparently endless abundance of the oceans on this watery planet, we humans have managed to cause lots of problems, so indeed the oceans do need our attention and care.  There is a website about it - 

Saturday June 8 was also the day that Te Matau a Maui was formally welcomed as part of Matariki celebrations in Wellington.  It got there in plenty of time.  On the Thursday evening changes to the rigging suggested preparation for departure from Island Bay.

On Friday morning, from a hill above Island Bay, I was surprised to see a glowing red on the sea...

Te Matau a Maui was sailing - leaving the shelter of the bay and heading for the harbour entrance.  The low angle of the sun on a winter's morning brightened the red sails, reflected in the calm water.

In this image you can see how Taputeranga shelters the bay from the southerly storms to some degree, and it shows the rocky shoreline which can be a problem and hazard at the entrance to the harbour.  Beyond Taputeranga a ferry is heading to the South Island, and the morning mists are still evident on the Orongorongos.   What a wonderful corner of the beautiful ocean this is.

Matariki is the Maori name (thought to mean "the eyes of God" - mata ariki, or "little eyes" - mata riki) for the group of seven stars also known as the Pleiades or Seven Sisters.  The group appears low on the northeastern horizon, in the tail of the Milky Way, around the end of May.  It was traditionally a time to remember the dead and celebrate new life, differences in the appearance of the cluster of the stars were used to help with timing of crop planting, and it was also harvest time so it is seen as a thanksgiving celebration as well.  And these stars were important in navigation - Te Matau a Maui is a waka that is sailed using traditional methods of navigation.