Matariki Fest Programme

Each event can be booked separately or as a total weekend package including accommodation.  All events will be based at Moraine Lodge, Mt Cook Lakeside Retreat.

Chefs Choice Dinner with Mark Gee followed by a Deep Space Astrophotography Workshop
Friday 17 July 2020 / 6.30 to 11.30pm 

Dine with Mark Gee at Moraine Lodge, followed by a deep space astrophotography workshop at Pukaki Observatory where Mark will show how to take photos of objects such as the Orion Nebula through the observatory telescope.  Includes: 3 course meal prepared by our amazing chefs Tom and Rafa and astrophotography workshop.  Max numbers - 12.

Cash / eftpos bar available.

Puaka-Matariki – A Celebration of our Southern Stars (Public session, entry by donation)
Saturday 18 July 2020  /  10.00 – 11.30am  

Maori perspectives on Astronomy with Victoria Campbell, Kāi/Ngāi Tahu.

Victoria will share a brief history of astronomy and its application from a Māori perspective with a focus on seasonality and time keeping.   She will talk about the lunar stellar system and how our interaction with the environment is interconnected and integral in the application of Māori astronomy.  

Entry by note donation.  Pre-registration required. Includes: presentation, tea and coffee.

Pre-register for this session

Sponsored by the Aoraki Mackenzie International Dark Sky Board.

Cash / eftpos bar available.

Gourmet lunch and The Story of the Art of Night with Mark Gee
Saturday 18 July 2020 / 12 - 1.30pm 

Talk with Mark Gee over lunch and hear his inspirational story behind the Art of Night.

A beginners guide to astrophotography with Mark Gee
Saturday 18 July 2020 / 7 – 10.30pm at Moraine Lodge

Learn how to take photos of the night sky, a hands on workshop using your own camera.  You will need warm clothing and know how to adjust the following settings on your own DLSR mirrorless camera: iso settings, shutter speed, f'stop and time delay.   Includes: workshop, a glass of mulled wine and nibbles.

Cash / eftpos bar available.

Sunday 19 July 2020

Guest check out at 11am for those accommodating at the Retreat. NOTE: accommodation not included and needs to be booked separately.

Programme may be subject to change


Friday 17 July
Chefs Choice Dinner and Deep Space Astrophotography with Mark Gee

Saturday 18 July 

Puaka-Matariki – A Celebration of our Southern Stars 

Gourmet lunch and The Story of the Art of Night with Mark Gee

A beginners guide to astrophotography with Mark Gee.

THANK YOU to the Aoraki Mackenzie International Dark Sky Reserve Board for their sponsorship of Puaka-Matariki – A Celebration of our Southern Stars





Mark Gee is an award winning photographer, time-lapse filmmaker and visual effects supervisor based in Wellington, New Zealand. He has worked on many high profile and Oscar award winning feature films including Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit, and his love of the New Zealand landscape is a big part of the inspiration for his photography.

Wholly self-taught, Mark ventures out to the darkest, most remote locations both locally and internationally, enjoying the challenge of combining striking landscapes with the ethereal beauty of the night sky in new, creative ways.

His short film, ‘Full Moon Silhouettes‘ gained him international acclaim after going viral online, and in 2013, Mark won the prestigious Astronomy Photographer of the Year. Not only did he win it overall, but Mark also won the Earth and Space category, and the People and Space category which had never been done before in the competition's history.

Since then, Mark has gone onto to sharing his passion and knowledge through workshops and on the public speaking circuit. One of the highlights of that was his well received TEDx talk in Christchurch, New Zealand in 2014.