Thursday, June 29, 2017

Wairarapa

There's some rather clever marketing going on in the Wairarapa.  I don't know why I always call the area the Wairarapa.  I've seen it referred to as both with and without the 'the'.  The area is only about an hour's drive north of Wellington and each of the little towns makes itself a destination for something in an effort to attract the Wellingtonian's weekend dollar.  Carterton, where we stayed has its central location as an advantage and claims to be the arts hub of the Wairarapa, although we didn't discover any of the authors, illustrators and painters it is home to.  

We did, however, visit Paua World where paua shell is incorporated into the jewellery and homeware which is admired by many tourists.  Not my cup of tea but there was an interesting video about the life cycle of the paua and how they harvest and polish the shells.

Stonehenge Aotearoa, on the other hand, was fascinating.  Yes, New Zealand's very own Stonehenge!  On a rural hillside, overlooking the Tararua Ranges.   A full scale working adaptation of the original, built right here in Aotearoa (New Zealand) to help us understand the wonder of stone circles.

I'd never remember everything they told us so have cheated to gather this information.
 
Stonehenge Aotearoa is a giant astronomical clock constructed from circles of stone, as is its 4000-year-old ancestor in England. Both are 30 metres in diameter, and they  have the same task, but that is where their similarities end. Our Stonehenge is designed for its specific location’s latitude and longitude. Its role is to accurately track the seasons and help New Zealanders understand the beauty, complexity and scientific truths of our southern skies.

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.

 

Near Stonehenge Aotearoa is the most frequently photographed building in the Wairarapa, known as the Haunted House at Ahiaruhe.  It sits on top of a ridge and can be seen from miles around.  It was built in Palmerston North in 1925 and moved by a farmer to this location in four pieces in the mid 1980s. The farmer intended to renovate it and make it his family home but the couple separated soon after and he was left with four children to raise at a time when it was hard to make money on a farm.  There was no money to spend on the house so he so he has left it to Nature’s devices and it has continued to deteriorate. It didn't look what I imagined a haunted house would look like.


There are fences in all my shots of Stonehenge Aotearoa, so am linking to Gosia's Fences from around the World.

9 comments:

  1. You made the house look really spooky. NZ's Stonehenge is interesting.

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  2. I've never been to that part of the country but you talking about paua reminds me of that house down south that's been decorated in it.

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  3. Old houses that are left that way are so sad, i think they are haunted by the good memories and the thoughts of what might have been.

    Your Stonehenge is fascinating, i would enjoy seeing it someday.

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  4. Your Stonehenge is beautiful!
    Have a wonderful week-end!

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  5. Absolutely fascinating Pauline. I never came across Stonehenge Aotearoa nor the Haunted House. I obviously drove around with my eyes closed! Mind you, thinking about it, I was usually driving through the area rather than staying in it (except for playing croquet!).

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  6. Graham, it's on a road between Carterton and Martinborough. I( think you would have really liked our Stonehenge.

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  7. What a cool place. The Stonehenge is very interesting. We have one here in WA state as well and they are quite fascinating. Love countryside there.

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