A Great Barrier Island marae will be the first to showcase a Māori perspective from a dark sky sanctuary.

The island is one of only four dark sky sanctuaries in the world, and the marae is making plans to launch a Māori stargazing business, Stars of Aotea.

Rodney Ngawaka of Ngātiwai says the stories shared will be varied.

“He pūrakau, he whakapapa o ngā whare tūpuna o Rehua, te kōrerorero o te huarere, ngā pā kaha, ngā wāhi tapu, te mana uriruri a ngā whenua katoa. He kaupapa o ngā mātua tūpuna, mai rānō, mai rānō.”

Motairehe Marae chairman Darren Cleave is tasked with carrying out the project and says development is already underway.

“We've cut a track through our whenua up to a viewing platform, and on that platform we are going to have telescopes and storytellers. I think what it has really done; it has given us the opportunity to share our stories.”

Cleave also says that last year the island had 25,000 visitors; an indication of potential customers for the business in the coming year.

“When they gave Great Barrier Island the status of dark sky, what it did is open up a revenue avenue for us as Māori to become involved in something international.”

The marae will launch Stars of Aotea in November.

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