New Zealand’s very own Stonehenge, in the heart of rural Wairarapa, stands on a knoll above river flats with the grey-blue of the Tararua Ranges on the western horizon. It seems an odd place for something so fundamentally English but, when I understand its job, and that of the one on Salisbury Plains, the idea that these structures can be built anywhere makes sense.
Though there are other astronomical clocks, this one is unique as it links with Maori astronomy and the navigational points of the Maori star-compass that Kupe and his fellow sailors used to navigate their way to and from New Zealand and around the Pacific.
Richard Hall is one of New Zealand’s foremost astronomers. It was his idea to build a Stonehenge here. But this vast structure is not a one-man creation. The Phoenix Astronomical Society, which has 250 members, provided voluntary labour over a period of two years to construct it. Robert Adam spent over a thousand hours completing the required surveying and astronomical
calculations and the Royal Society of New Zealand helped in the funding.
Before I tour the site I watch a video presentation that briefly covers the history of stone circles and astronomical clocks. I learn that astronomy is the oldest of all sciences and is the cornerstone to the rise of civilisation. It gave mankind an understanding of seasons and time and from astronomy measuring and Stonehenge Its role is to accurately track the seasons and help New Zealanders understand the beauty, complexity and scientific truths of our southern skies.
Foxton Probus Club – Bus Trip to Stonehenge
Just a wee e-mail to say a BIG thank you for all the work you initially did to help me, and then for Richard’s fantastic presentation in providing us all with a tremendous day out yesterday.
Our visit to Stonehenge was the talk of the bus on the way home with a number saying that they wish to return and take in the whole experience all over again.
Many thanks and we’ll no doubt catch up with you and Richard again soon.
Foxton Probus Club
Thank you for sending my glasses back, really appreciate it...We also enjoyed being at Stonehenge Aotearoa. It's just brilliant and we would definitely visit again. Have also informed many of our friends, all the very best, Vips
I'd just like to extend my congratulations and thanks to you and Richard for hosting the Stardate this year. I heard a number of comments about the friendliness and quality of the talks. I think that the venue of Stonehenge lends a whole new dimension to such an event and a great deal of that conducive environment is thanks to yourself and Richard. Paul Curry
Please accept my thanks for a very entertaining, and informative, weekend at Stardate. I also request that my thanks go to your able facilitators, George, Edwin and Ian, who maintained the momentum of each session. - Gerry Eady