Opened in February 2005, Stonehenge Aotearoa is the result of a lot of hard work and planning by the Phoenix Astronomical Society whose aim is to make astronomy accessible to everyone whatever their level of interest and knowledge. Despite what you may assume, Stonehenge Aotearoa is not all about star signs, druids and hillside rituals. It’s about the science of the stars and has been built to specifications which suit its exact placement on the earth. At certain times of the year, the sun will rise at set over marker stones which pinpoint winter and summer solstices and spring and autumn equinoxes.
Storytelling is king at Stonehenge. Richard Hall and Kay Leather are passionate about the stories and ultimately the science which comes with a working Henge. Richard is a born storyteller who can easily capture and hold your attention.
The guided tour starts with a short film which gives you a good orientation into what you will see at the Henge itself. Otherwise it’s just like looking at a group of stones. The film also explains about the stars in the New Zealand sky and in particular the Matariki story and the role of stars in ancient and present civilisations. You can do a self guided tour of Stonehenge during normal opening hours called a Trek Around the Stones. The Trek starts with a shorter film and you are provided with a one page map outlining the stones and their purposes.
Standing in the middle of the Henge during daytime you have beautiful views of the Carterton countryside and the Tararua ranges. But once you understand that the pillars and lintels form windows along the horizon which frame the rising and setting points of stars which are either seasonal markers or navigational beacons, you’ll have a much deeper appreciation of this structure.
Ahiaruhe Road, Carterton
Phone: 06 377 1600
Open Wednesday to Sunday (including Easter public holidays) 10am – 4pm
Trek Around the Stones – self guided. $6 adults, $3 children
Guided tours – Saturdays, Sundays and public holidays from 11am
$16 per adult, Senior citizens & students $13, under 13’s $8
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