About 11 kilometres off the main road stands Stonehenge Aotearoa, a stone circle so powerful it calls to nearly everyone. Stone circles date back to the Mesopotamians, nearly 2000 years before Jericho. Stonehenge Aotearoa is New Zealand’s stone circle. A henge is a stone circle with lintels (blocks that are supported by something). Aotearoa is the Māori name for New Zealand.
We didn’t know what to expect as we approached. What we found was not a replica of Stonehenge in Salisbury, UK, but rather a purpose-built structure of similar size to the one in England. As Richard, the owner of Stonehenge Aotearoa, says, “ If you want your stone circle to work, it has to be built for your surroundings.”
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The circular shape is found throughout history in structures like the Roman Colosseum, Roman Pantheon, and Newgrange outside of Dublin. It holds some historical significance to nearly every major religion. Built correctly, as Stonehenge Aotearoa is, it is used to teach and inspire.
- Rediscover the knowledge of our ancestors
- Learn about the traditional Māori lunar calendar of time and seasons (called Maramataka)
- Teach celestial navigation as the stones form a Polynesian star compass similar to Ātea a Rangi Star Compass that we saw just outside of Napier, New Zealand.
Stonehenge New Zealand Acoustics and Other Special Features
Acoustically, Stonehenge Aotearoa is almost magical. From the centre, one can eavesdrop on any conversation in the circle. Sounds, such as music or clapping, originating in the centre of the circle are both amplified and accumulating as more people join in. Sounds from the edges can echo a few seconds later.
The power of chants and music inside Stonehenge Aotearoa, and similar historical circles, can be used to put people in a trance-like state without the use of drugs.
Other Stone Circles Around the World That We Have Seen:
- Stonehenge in England, built around 3100 BC, is probably the world’s most famous stone circle. Charges apply.
- Ātea O Rangi Celestial Star Compass in Napier New Zealand is a replica built recently. It is designed to split the horizon into 32 equal areas for celestial navigation. It is free to enter.
- Almendres Cromlech is a megalithic site outside Evora Portugal comprising a circle of 93 huge stones that were strategically placed there from 4000-5000BC. Located near Evora, it is free to enter.
A Dedication to World Peace
In May 2017 Stonehenge Aotearoa joined the Sri Chinmoy Peace-Blossoms program, a global family of more than 800 inspirational locations dedicated to world peace. According to the dedication hanging on the wall of the office, the program includes the highest mountains in nine countries, the grandeur of Niagra Falls, Vietnams Mekong Delta, many national capitals, and the entire 200 km border between Russia and Norway.
Practical Information on Visiting Stonehenge Aotearoa
- Stonehenge Aotearoa is located at 51 Ahiaruhe Road, Ahiaruhe, about an hours drive through the beautiful Wairarapa from Wellington. More specifically, it is a 10-minute drive off the main road from the town of Carterton. Click here for driving directions.
- Opening days change by the season. However, the hours are from 10 am to 4 pm on the days they are open. See their official website for details.
- Tour options include self-guided tours, guided tours on weekends or holidays, and private tours by appointment. Richard generally leads the guided and private tours. He is knowledgeable and captivating, sharing historical stories that are both fascinating and a bit enchanting.
- Be sure to ask for a Stonehenge Aotearoa map if you are taking a self-guided tour.
- Stonehenge Aotearoa is also available for weddings or other private parties. Too late for us, as we have already married each other twice, but if you have a wedding coming up, this sure would be a memorable location.
Where to Stay Near Stonehenge Aotearoa
For a small town, Carterton has an enormous number of hotels, motels, and B&Bs that are rated extremely well.
Or stay about 20 minutes south in Martinborough, in the heart of the Wairarapa wine region. From here, you can take a self-guided bicycle tour, a guided bicycle tour, or relax in a rickshaw while someone else does the pedalling. Either way, you get an opportunity to explore the region further and sample some fabulous New Zealand wines.
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Did you know there was a Stonehenge Aotearoa? Which stone circles around the world have you seen?
Disclaimer: We were provided with a complimentary tour. However, the opinions expressed here are strictly my own.