We deliberately chose to write a "legend" as we did not want to use a Maori or European myth. We wanted the event to be inclusive and accessible to all members of our community.
The legend was based on the physics of visible light, the colours of the spectrum.
In the late 1660s Sir Isaac Newton began experimenting with his "celebrated phenomenon of colours" as he split white light into its component colours. In naming the colours he decided, for a number of interesting reasons, to add Indigo to the 6 colours he could see - the 3 primary colours, red, yellow and blue and the 3 secondary colours, orange, green and violet.
Newton decided to put indigo between blue and violet making the 7 colours of the rainbow as we know them today.
Indigo is a bit of an anomaly and we exploit this fact in the "legend" below.
The Legend of the 7 Stars
Once upon a time, long long ago, there was nothing but a huge black timeless void; and in the void lived the Dreamers. All they did was dream, and although their dreams were nothing but dancing lights and colours, they were beautiful, and the Dreamers were happy - except of course, that they all hoped, one day, to dream the Dream that Never Ends.
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Eventually one of the Dreamers decided to do everything he could to find this Never-Ending Dream, . Now, although all of his dreams were made of colour and light, each was dominated by a special star. They were all very powerful, but very different, and it was his favourites that the Dreamer now decided to bring together.
His first choice was Vulcan, the star who ruled over his most fiery dreams. Then there was his brother Ochre, passionate but steady and determined; then Azure, who dominated the deepest, coolest dreams; then Henna, a fire star but with a soothing, gentle warmth; then Jade, wild and impulsive, but with a loving nature; and Gentian, changeable and melancholy, the moodiest of all. Last of all, the Dreamer chose their mysterious sister Indigo, the star who was present in all his dreams - without her nothing would feel complete.
And so he drew the seven stars together, and the dream began. The Dreamer's heart leapt, for here was an explosion of spectacular dancing colours such as he'd never seen before. Then, into the dream drifted a Wandering Star. At first the Dreamer was anxious that the dream would be spoilt, but after a while something odd began to happen. The Wanderer drifted close to Henna, and under his strong steady glow, her surface became a searing desert. She recoiled towards Azure, and huge glaciers formed and cut into the deserts. The other stars soon gathered round, fascinated by the newcomer. Under Vulcan's fiery glare her depths rumbled and threw up great volcanoes which split the deserts and demolished the ice flows. From all this chaos of heat and ice Gentian formed a huge mass of water, and there were great floods in the deserts, and massive clouds of steam and mist that were whipped over the surface of the land by his erratic moods. As a flood receded, Ochre would create a brief carpet of grassland; as a glacier melted, Jade might cause a tangle of lush forest for an instant; but they would be quickly destroyed. Only Indigo remained apart, a silent observer.
The Dreamer had never seen such glorious upheaval, but he became alarmed at what was happening. None of these stars was used to sharing a dream with others, and their clashes were becoming so violent that he was afraid that they might destroy the Dream. Knowing something must be done, he called the stars aside.
"I command you all to attend a very important meeting" he announced, "and there you shall hear my decision"..
Now all this time each of the stars was convinced that, if only all the others would go away, everything would be fine. They all decided to impress the Dreamer so much at the meeting that they alone would be chosen to rule the Wanderer. And so it was, that the meeting became a dazzling display, as they paraded their gloving power before the Dreamer, one by one, and waited for his decision.
The Dreamer knew that all the stars were necessary, but he also knew that together they would destroy everything. He had no idea what to do. Then Indigo - the star so strangely necessary to his dreams, yet so easily forgotten - arrived at the meeting. The Dreamer paused to feel the power of her inner light, compared to her brother stars' splendour, and he knew what he had to do.
"Alone, not one of you is right for this task", he declared. "All of your glorious qualities, so obvious at this meeting, are necessary. And so I shall join you together into one Great Star."
The stars were amazed at this, but the Wanderer was already cooling and dying without them. There was no time to waste. Before they could object, the Dreamer spun the brothers together. Immediately there was a confusion of fire and steam and shattering explosions. Out of this chaos rose a huge star with such a dazzling intense white light that the Dreamer had to shield his eyes. "This must be the Dream Without End," he thought. "How could such a light ever die?"
The Dreamer and Indigo watched together as the new creation shone down on the battered Wanderer. They saw a huge carpet of grass and forest flow over her surface; they saw the waters begin to move with fish and the jungles with animal life, and the air become thick with birds. And because there was now only one Great Star, while half her surface was active, the other half could rest. The Great Star had created Night and Day. And the Dreamer knew at last that everything was right. This was the Never-Ending Dream of Life.
And then he turned to Indigo and said to her, "Indigo, you have had a place in all my dreams and I have never understood why, but now I do. Your task shall be twofold. Your brothers light the Wanderer by day, but the night is black. You are needed to bring a new light into the darkness that remains. You see all the living things that are growing here before us? Soon they will be dreaming too, and they will need you in all their dreams, as I have done. Your powers shall flow through the people and reach all the dark areas that your brothers cannot touch. For you, Indigo, are the light of inspiration; you will guide them as you have guided me. Guide them through their dreams, and through the night."
But Indigo seemed sad. She was afraid that her brothers would be unhappy at being consumed into one Great Star. However as their light shone through her tears, she could see them again - not as before, leaping and dancing and causing confusion - but beautifully arrayed as great bands of colour, contented and at peace. Knowing they were happy, Indigo too was content to leave the Dreamer and take her special light to the Wandering Star.
Indigo still feels sad sometimes and cries a little, and when she does we can look up through her tears and see her brothers too - only we call them the Rainbow. The Great Star they joined we call the Sun. And even though they are united, we can still feel them sometimes as eruptions or earthquakes, or sudden storms. And though we usually call Indigo the Moon, we have many, many names for her light.
And now and again, we gather together to celebrate the Great Meeting of the Seven Stars, which gave us the Sun, and all the light we need. For the Wandering Star is the Earth and there is no reason, if we are careful, why this Dream should ever End.
School children were introduced to the legend via a brochure that was send out to every primary, intermediate and secondary school in Wellington City. The brochure also included a brief synopsis of the event and described how schools might become involved.
The brochure was accompanied by an letter from the Mayor inviting the schools to participate.
The general public were introduced to the legend in a full page spread in the Evening Post, 8/12/83, that also gave out basic information about the event.