What is really special about this story is that it is real.

Master Navigator Jack Thatcher (of the iwi [tribes] Ngāti Ranginui, Ngāi Te Rangi, Ngāti Pūkenga, Te Aitanga-a-Hauiti, Ngāti Awa) plays himself as Koro Jack. The events on waka are his lived experiences. Moko actor, Reina Stephens (of Te Rarawa) really is a descendant of waka voyager Nuku (Nukutawhiti). The science comes from astrobiologist and co-creator, Haritina Mogosanu.

Navigational activities and measurements, culture, language and karakia (incantations) on the vessels are supported in both research and performance by people who walk in those worlds. Click here to find out more.

Even the karakia (incantations) in the film, are used as they would be in real life, to set the film, it’s characters and its audiences on a safe cultural path.

The historical figures, vessels, events and skies have been carefully recreated and animated by John Strang of DUSK and his team of artists and technicians.

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Day 1: Create & Challenge

Start your camp with creativity and team building at Capital E! First up, it’s exploring Virtual Reality in MediaLab. Next up, City Gallery WellingtonJoin the gallery educators for a Mural Tour and Screenprinting Workshop. Create a screenprint inspired by what you have seen incorporating kupu Māori.  

Day 2: Protest & Demonstrate

Start your day at Wellington Museum, which gives students the chance to connect the past, present, and future. In our Protest and Action programmestudents reflect on the driving factors behind social changeand contemporary issues. After lunch, it’s on to Capital E’s OnTV where your class will create their own TV show!

Day 3: Tour & Explore

Take the Cable Car up to Space Place, where your students will discover the collection of telescopes in a Telescope Tour. Eat a packed lunch in always beautiful Botanic Gardens.  Next up, Nairn Street CottageThe cottage is a 30 minute walk from Space Place. Here your students can explore Waves of Migrationwith a guided visit of the Wallis family home

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Space Place is home to a state of the art Sky-Skan digital full-dome planetarium system hosting a range of planetarium movies for every age.  Each film (except Matariki Dawn and Family of the Sun) also has a 15 minute live Night’s Sky presentation, so visitors can get to know their night skies. To check out Ngā Tohunga Whakatere - The Navigators screening times click here.




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Moko dreams of becoming a master star navigator like her tūpuna and like her koro Jack. 

Ngā Tohunga Whakatere  - The Navigators tells the story of Māori, Pasifika and, later, European navigation towards Aotearoa through the eyes of a young girl, Moko.

The budding navigator finds herself travelling through time and space in the wake of the greatest Pacific navigators, in a fully immersive planetarium show on Space Place's stunning digital, full-dome planetarium screen. 

Journey with Moko as she gains knowledge and understanding of Māori, Pasifika and European voyaging traditions and realises how skilled her tūpuna had to be to travel the largest ocean on Earth.  

Ngā Tohunga Whakatere - The Navigators is a family-friendly animated 30-minute immersive show that’ll take you on an unforgettable adventure across the Pacific Ocean. 


The Making of The Navigators

Directed by Lala Rolls, Ngā Tohunga Whakatere: The Navigators has drawn heavily on the creative talents of Wellington, New Zealand including sound recording and editing at filmmaker, Sir Peter Jackson’s post-production facility, Park Road Post.

Ngā Tohunga Whakatere: The Navigators is the culmination of many years’ work for Haritina Mogoșanu, Creative Producer and former Public Programmes Manager at Space Place, Wellington, who initiated the concept. " The knowledge we have from studying the stars has made extraordinary achievements, possible - not just scientific ones but also personal. Our message to our tamariki [young ones] is; learn your science and be our explorers for the future."

A powerful karakia (incantation) welcomes viewers at the beginning with Pacific sounds, including drumming woven through the musical score. 

Opening Karakia  

Mai e te tipua, mai e te tawhito, mai e te kāhui o ngā ariki, mai eee tāwhiwhi ki ngā atua. Ōī, ka takina te mauri, ko te mauri i ahua noa mai ki runga ki ēnei taura, ki runga ki ēnei tauira. Kia tau te mauri ki runga ki ēnei tamatāne, tamawāhine he tukuna nō te whaiorooro a Tānetewaiora. Tēnei te matatau ka eke, whakatū tārewa ki te rangi. Ūhi, wēro, hara mai te toki, haumi e, hui e, taiki e!

[I invoke the inspiration and guidance from the universe and the gods. Therefore, I bestow upon these disciples and young men and women the life-force under the auspices of Tāne, the giver of life. I invoke the inspiration and guidance from the universe and the gods. Therefore, I bestow upon these disciples the life-force under the auspices of Tāne, the giver of life. Let them attain the sacred knowledge from the highest heavens. Hold fast, hold strong, and let it be done!]

This immersive planetarium film tells the story of Māori/Pasifika, and European Navigation towards Aotearoa New Zealand through the eyes of a budding navigator, Moko. 

Like Moana in the Disney film, she steps into the world of her Pacific ancestors and onto the decks of their waka (voyaging canoes) in this 30-minute animated adventure. As a scientist and explorer, she crosses cultures to witness the worlds of Captain Cook and the Dutch explorer, Abel Tasman.

The story encompasses the real experiences of historical and present-day voyagers across the Pacific Ocean in an educational journey suitable for school-aged audiences, age 8+. With Moko, we stand alongside the navigators, explore their traditions, uncover their science, and wrap it all up in the space knowledge we have today.


Fly through space, follow the stars, traverse the largest ocean on Earth with Moko, and her ancestors.  


Available for license