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The henge, built over 2 years and opened on 12 February 2005 by Nobel Laureate Professor Alan MacDiarmid, contains 24 pillars and is 30 metres (98 ft) in diameter and about 4 metres (13 ft) high. The pillars are capped with lintels, completing the circle, and a 5 metres (16 ft)-tall obelisk marks the center of the henge. The modern henge was designed to demonstrate how ancient peoples used such constructions to understand astronomy. Since Stonehenge Aotearoa is at a different latitude and longitude than the original Stonehenge, it is not an exact replica—some measurements had to be changed to preserve certain astronomical properties.
Its design was inspired not only by the original Stonehenge, but also by navigational and astronomical techniques of Polynesia and of the New World. Stonehenge Aotearoa also differs from its Salisbury cousin in construction; the pillars, lintels and central obelisk are not hewn stone, but are hollow structures with concrete molding forming their exterior.
It was intended to generate revenue for The Phoenix Astronomy Society to raise money for the Matariki Research Observatory.
- Stonehenge Aotearoa web site
- The Phoenix Astronomical Society
- BBC News article
- The video for "The Free Way" by Stefan Wolf was partly filmed at Stonehenge Aotearoa
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