About 40 people — mainly schoolchildren enjoying holidays — joined in the Star Science with Tuhura Otago Museum event at Balclutha Library last Thursday, July 13

The Matariki-inspired presentation ran for about three hours and included scientific equipment, a projection of the night sky on to the library ceiling and elements of matauranga Maori to encourage interest in space and astronomy, museum science engagement co-ordinator Pasifika Emily Eastgate said.

‘‘It’s around observing and studying stars — what they’re made of, why they shine in different colours, some of the tools used to discover this,’’ she said.

‘‘Matauranga is an indigenous science in itself and an integral part of teaching the significance of Matariki and why we celebrate it . . .

‘‘We find purakau [storytelling] helps people engage in the learning and grasp the concepts.’’

The Matariki/Pleiades asterism (star pattern) is important to many cultures and helped Maori anchor seasonal responsibilities to a lunar calendar.