By Duncan Steel 20/12/2019


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The International Astronomical Union (IAU) this year invited nations to propose names for distant stars selected on the basis of having planets (exoplanets) discovered to be orbiting them. The New Zealand entries, now adopted officially by the IAU, are Karaka for the star, and Kererū for its associated exoplanet. 

In a previous blog post I described how New Zealanders had been invited to propose names for a distant star, and the planet (exoplanet) that had been discovered to be in orbit around it. And now the results are in…

The announcement from Dr Nicholas Rattenbury at the University of Auckland reads as follows:

Alternatively, one can look at the official International Astronomical Union (IAU) website to find the following:

One could say that this is a year late, in that the kererū was NZ Bird of the Year in 2018.

Whilst not wanting to detract from the keraka as being a magnificant NZ tree, I do feel the need to mention that the Karaka Café on the harbour front in Wellington is a most delightful place to take a break and enjoy the view, with the wonderful staff there always ready to feed your appetite for food and drink.


While the football (soccer) authorities in Australia have chosen to join the Asian federation, according to the IAU that nation is still part of Oceania, and so from this webpage one finds the following:

From Oceania, however, that is not all. There is also the Cook Islands…

…and also the Pitcairn Islands (94 suggestions from a population of about fifty!)…

And that is all I have to say or write on this subject, which is truly out of space.