The First Nation (indigenous) peoples of Aotearoa (New Zealand) are known as the Māori. Māori have an oral tradition of reciting the Whakapapa – the genealogy of human origins back to the beginning of the Universe – recognizing the Sun, the Planets, and other stars as senior progenitors of humanity which, in these stories, included many of the stages in a process that parallels the western hypothesis of the Big Bang.
In November 2016, a pilot Spaceward Bound expedition was launched with funding from the New Zealand Government (MBIE’S Unlocking Curious Minds program) and in collaboration with the educational divison of the tribal authority, Ngati Whakaue, one of the guardian tribes from the Te Arawa confederation of the Rotorua region, a world renowned, active geothermal location. In this program, 20 students (ages 8-16) and their families were engaged in the immersive learning style of relating to their environment and discovering the extent of life on Earth through astrobiology. One of the expedition’s objectives was to discuss and compare ancient cultural wisdom with the the modern view of science and discover ‘hidden knowledge’ that is often cyphered inside traditions and cultural practices and teachings.Mogosanu et al., 2017, AbSciCon