A lot of very careful surveying work and exploration will be necessary before we can identify each of the remnant surveying markers extending southward on the alignment to Taupo. For much of this we will have to rely on farmers, hunters or others who have local knowledge and who have encountered the purpose erected markers at high points down the line. A good clue related to where to look will be to inspect all interim ridges that obscure the view to the next structure on the alignment. Although further finite adjustments will need to be made, the base alignment runs at an azimuth angle of 156.25-degrees around from north from Mt Wellington in Auckland in its southward dissection of the country. This should take it directly through Lake Taupo, after the surveying alignment enters the lake from the near vicinity of Mount Tuhingamata (2202 feet...671metres) on the northern shores.

The region where the ancient surveying alignment enters the lake (extending between Kaiapo Point - Whakamoenga - Rangitira Point of Taupo (Taupo Nui A Tia...The Great Shoulder Mat of Tia) was long occupied by the ancient Ngati Hotu people. Ancient stacked stone walls, cairns, sighting pits and burial caves of the Ngati Hotu, located on the Otuparae Peninsula, jutting out eastward into the lake and situated midway between Acacia Bay and Jerusalem Bay, are presently under threat of total eradication by developers.

Here are some references to the Ngati-Hotu people:

J. M. McEwen researched the Ngati-Hotu for over 15-years and used for reference the writings of Hawkes Bay chiefs Raniera Te Ahiko and Paramena Te Naonao. Other researchers gleaned information from genealogical tables related by tribes bordering Lake Taupo and by interviews with the learned elders there. One quotation about the Ngati-Hotu, derived from these Maori sources, states:

Generally speaking, Ngati Hotu were of medium height and of light colouring. In the majority of cases they had reddish hair. They were referred to as urukehu. It is said that during the early stages of their occupation of Taupo they did not practice tattooing as later generations did, and were spoken of as te whanau a rangi (the children of heaven) because of their fair skin.
There were two distinct types. One had a kiri wherowhero or reddish skin, a round face, small eyes and thick protruding eyebrows. The other was fair-skinned, much smaller in stature, with larger and very handsome features. The latter were the true urukehu and te whanau a rangi. In some cases not only did they have reddish hair, but also light coloured eyes.
(See Tuwharetoa, chapter 7, page 115, by Rev. John Grace).

An old Maori elder said the following to historian James Cowan about the former, vanquished Ngati-Hotu of Mt. Ngongotaha in Rotorua district:

"The complexion of most of them was kiri puwhero and their hair had the reddish or golden tinge we call uru-kehu. Some had black eyes, some blue like Europeans. Some of their women were very beautiful, very fair of complexion, with shining fair hair…'

Here are some photos of Ngati Hotu structures at Otuparae Peninsula, shortly to be destroyed by bulldozers after agreement was reached between developers, iwi (who undoubtedly knew these structures weren't Maori) and the Taupo District Council.

An ancient, moss covered, Ngati Hotu stacked stone wall at Otuparae Peninsula. This peninsula juts out between Acacia Bay and Jerusalem Bay, eastward into Lake Taupo.

Mt Tauhara, seen eastward across the lake from the position of an ancient "sighting pit" depression on the Otuparae Peninsula. Mt Tauhara sits at an azimuth angle estimated to be about 82.5-degrees from the sighting pit position and it's possible the alignment was coding the "lunar"value 262.5 in the return angle. It would appear that from some point of the peninsula, Mount Tauhara could have acted in the capacity of an outer marker for the equinoctial sunrise.

One of the former Ngati Hotu and later occupant cavern dwellings down by the water's edge, with burial sites situated in the cliff-face nearby. Many ancient stacked stone or other types of archaeological structures and remains are earmarked for destruction on the peninsula. When the bulldozers remove the soft layers of tephra ash from the more elevated regions of the peninsula to expose solid ground for the foundations of new homes, they are bound to find ancient stacked stone structures, which were buried by the 186 AD volcanic explosion of Taupo. Hopefully archaeologists will be on site to record any such discoveries for the benefit of posterity, but in the present PC environment, where it is anathema to mention anything "pre-Maori", that inconvenient impediment to "progress" will probably be considered "unnecessary" and officially avoided. In keeping with standard practice to date, any skeletal remains found will be whisked away by iwi and destroyed, so that no anthropological or forensic analysis is possible.

Such is the paltry state of New Zealand archaeological scholarship...We live in the Dark Ages!

The exclusive subdivision that only very wealthy buyers will be able to afford to live within. Drawing supplied by Graham Parminter of Taupo. The main, ancient surveying alignment dissecting the country from Northland via Taupo to districts further south passed within 4.75 miles west of this former Ngati Hotu village site.

One hapu of Taupo based iwi strongly opposed any disturbance of the structures and mounds on the peninsula, but they were howled down and over-ruled by "outta-towner", carpet-baggers and the Taupo District Council.

Gary Cook with Taupo kaumatua, Steve Bramley, inspecting some of the ancient structures on the peninsula in September 2004. Appeals by Steve's hapu to save the structures of the peninsula fell on deaf ears. Amidst the many items Steve showed us was a venerated mound, complete with marker stones. In appearance, it looked like an ancient trig, although Steve's hapu attribute it to a former Rangitira (chief) and his place of residence. It might be significant to consider that an alignment running from the ancient stone trigs atop Maunganui Bluff in Northland to Te Mata Peak in Havelock North, Hawkes Bay will pass over the mound on the Otuparae Peninsula.


On the eastern shores of Lake Taupo and situated less than six miles from the summit of Mt. Tauhara can be found the remains of a very large and sophisticated "standing stone circle" observatory. For those wishing to inspect it and carefully consider its attributes, the arrangement can be found at Earnest Kemp Rise near the turnoff to the Taupo Airport.

Although the huge arrangement is yet to be surveyed and it's evident that some of it's smaller component boulders have been used to form a modern wall, there should be more than sufficient symmetry left to identify many of the site's former codes (distance and angle) or functions. Let's look at some attributes of the huge and impressive obelisk observatory, put in place by the Ngati Hotu or their more distant forebears.

Looking southward over the main cluster of huge component boulders, many of which sit perfectly upright in the original positions where the ancient Patu-paiarehe (Ngati Hotu) astronomer-surveyors placed them. Observation of the boulders will indicate that they are not naturally occurring, but have been carefully selected, moved and placed into their present positions atop a tephra ash-soil base. The boulders seem to be a variety of volcanic types, ranging from smoothed and waterworn basalt to various grades of rhyolite. On the site they and are not connected to subterranean upthrusts of volcanic rock or rhyolite formations. Situated some distance SSE of the site are some natural upthrusts of rougher basalt-rhyolites and these provide samples for comparative analysis, indicating that the "Ernest Kemp Rise" boulders are carefully selected component parts of a purpose built structure.

One of the natural volcanic upthrusts found within a mile of the Taupo standing stone complex. Although good quality and hard basalt rock is formed from molten lava, this rock upthrust is softer and somewhat more flaky, but has the appearance of material that has been subjected to tremendous heat. The fragments that break off these clusters are sharp, jagged and irregular, a far cry from the water-worn and smoothed appearance of many component stones erected on the Ernest Kemp Rise obelisk site.

Many of the very weather worn and water worn boulders of the standing stone observatory have been, it seems, procured from the lake. There is no indication of copious scatterings of stone around the Taupo district and the entire regional landscape is mostly composed of layered tephra ash that fell during the 186 AD explosion of Taupo. These volcanic stones, quite apparently, sit atop the ash from that explosion and would be mostly classified as rhyolite, which is based upon very old tephra ash that has been compressed into rock. Other component stone would be based upon either magma upthrusts or airborne, ejected molten lava thrown from volcanic explosions, then weather worn for thousands of years

This factor is, therefore, an anomaly: Why do very old strata, rounded and symmetrical rhyolite or other classification boulders sit atop tephra fallout ash from a, geologically, recent volcanic explosion. Unless geologists can come up with a very plausible and acceptable explanation as to how this occurred at Ernest Kemp Rise, then we must accept the fact that the boulders were hauled to, then placed, at that one solitary location by humans, sometime since 186 AD. Another major point of consideration is the recurring incidence of the stones standing very unnaturally upright on their ends. Gravity and physics being such as they are, tumbling stones thrown out by a volcano would have a far greater tendency to end up lying on their sides, not standing perfectly upright like arrayed sentinels on the landscape.

Panoramic views to the south and SSW across the lake onto the outer marker volcano mountains of Ruapehu, Ngauruhoe and Tongarero.

A photo taken from amidst the main arrangement of obelisks showing (1) Ngauruhoe, (2) The cone of Tongariro rising up behind an interim range and (3) Motutaiko Island in Lake Taupo.

Near the entryway to the Ernest Kemp Rise site reposes the largest obelisk. It was carefully positioned as the beginning marker of an alignment that runs across Motutaiko Island in Lake Taupo to the epicentre of Mount Tongariro's cone. The alignment then runs to the epicentre of the peak of Mount Cook in the South Island of New Zealand. This alignment extends in an undeviating straight line for 456-miles at an azimuth angle of 222.736-degrees (undoubtedly read as 222.75 by the ancient important navigational number). The evidence suggests that ancient surveyors used a series of interim mountains to the south as observation and surveying platforms in order to establish this very long and highly accurate surveying alignment from the Taupo hubstone at Ernest Kemp Rise.

The name Tongariro means: Tonga = South & riro = go toward or go to. In terms of this alignment sequence, the name is most apt, as it is indicating something aligning to and heading towards the south. The word Tonga is used to indicate cold, chill, ice or frozen, as in: Kua tonga te wai... The water is frozen. Winds from the south are the coldest for New Zealanders. This alignment to Mount Cook is certainly heading into the region of ice towards the south.

The name Ngauruhoe means: Ngauru = estranged & hoe = renounced, disinherited, indifference toward, rejected or swept aside. It can also mean oar. In terms of this alignment to Mount Cook, perhaps the name indicates the lesser role played by Ngauruhoe. In this instance it is the estranged or rejected mountain and pre-eminence of position is accorded to Tongariro.

Mt. Cook, New Zealand's highest mountain is situated in the Southern Alps of the South Island and is 12316 feet high.

The author stands by the huge obelisk hubstone. It would appear that if it was rolled clockwise, as per this picture, to sit upon the base face to the right, then it would be correctly oriented according to ancient Ngati-Hotu design requirements. The contrasting colouration on the boulder, between darker lichen covered and cleaner, white rhyolite surfaces, show what section was underground and what was exposed until recently. The boulder has been dug out of a longtime position, wherein it reposed on its side to now sit atop the ground ... gratis of the subdivision bulldozer. An anciently hewn-out seat position can be seen to the bottom left of the rhyolite obelisk. It also appears to have been cut for the relative comfort of the seated individual, with a rounded frontal-edge aspect to accomodate the backs of the legs at the knee joints and also a foot-rest. Careful assessment of this cut-stone seat should give us some idea of the size of the people it was designed for. The seat was probably used by the ancient surveyors for sitting in a fixed position, on the correct orientation, for viewing the Motutaiko - Tongariro alignment. We have encountered these "fixed position" seats before and one was reported to be atop an obelisk situated on a peak at Pukekaroro hill near Kaiwaka, Northland and facing towards Mangawhai.

The Surveyor-Astronomer or dignitaries seat, as if viewed from above. The general attributes of this cut stone seat are as follows:

1. The foot-rest for giving support to the dangling heels.

2. The rounded aspect towards the front edge to provide comfort behind the knees.

3. The flat cut seat base, with an arm-rest area to the left.

4. The back of the seat.

The seat could be used in two positions, 90-degrees opposed and its attributes suggest a surveying or alignment function. This cut stone feature on the obelisk was first noted by Graham Parminter, archaeological researcher and historian of Taupo.

The huge obelisk at Ernest Kemp Rise also sits 114.65-miles from the cone of Mount Taranaki at an azimuth angle very close to 72-degrees (71.7243 actual). The azimuth angle back from the cone of Mount Ngauruhoe is 41-degrees. The azimuth angle back from the cone of Mount Ruapehu is 37.8-degrees, which is a strong navigational value (note: the Great Pyramid is 756 feet per side, which was 1/8th of 1-minute of equatorial arc under its geodetic system...378 feet is half of that value).

It's also very interesting to note that an alignment running from Mount Edgecumbe near Kawerau to Mount Cook would be virtually on the same alignment, missing the Taupo hubstone by a reasonably small distance. Similarly, the coast to coast angle from Mount Edgecumbe to Mount Taranaki is a convenient 242-degrees azimuth.

Some peripheral marker stones can be seen lying several hundred yards away across the highway from the main stand of obelisks at Ernest Kemp Rise and these could have provided very accurate angle codes from the hubstone position. Some of these more distantly placed markers would have represented the end points of surveyor's baselines of precisely known length, so that the distances to outlying mountains on the horizon could be accurately calculated by trigonometry, after taking angle shots onto the target mountain from each end of the baseline. Inasmuch as the complex needs to be thoroughly surveyed, it is yet unknown which component boulders are legitimate markers further down or across the landscape and this factor will need to be established by careful scientific evaluation.

Allan Titford and Ross Baker stand to each side of a major boulder that still reposes upright in the correct position and orientation, where ancient Ngati Hotu astronomer-surveyors placed it. Would you buy a used car from posers like this?

A picture that says it all. This huge pyramidal marker is very typical of the carefully selected, oft-times pyramid shaped, markers so prevalent on New Zealand standing stone sites. It's almost obligatory that this huge observatory-surveying complex was set up by the Ngati Hotu people in the last 1700-years or so, as Taupo erupted violently in 186 AD at the southern reaches of the lake. The volcanic explosion was the largest world-wide in recorded history, spanning the last 5000 years, and would have rendered the surrounding terrain of the lake an inhospitable desert for, perhaps, a century or more. The ancient pre-Maori people would have later set this site up as a major "School of Learning" (what later became the Maori whare waananga) to teach navigational and astronomical sciences. This site, in the southern hemisphere, should be reasonably comparable in function to Avebury Henge in the northern hemisphere and, undoubtedly, incorporated many of the same distance and angle tutorials.

The reason behind the placement of each of the stones in their exact positions should be reasonably easy to decipher after very precise surveying has been undertaken. What is needed is a carefully scaled groundplan, showing accurate distances and angles between components, in relation to each other and the outer marker mountain peak positions. Knowing the exact position of the hubstone will be imperative.

Allan leans on a boulder that has been tumbled to the NNE. When standing, the huge stone was a part of a 4-component obelisk alignment that ran to the peak of Mt. Tauhara (seen in the distant background). This alignment was first noted by British antiquarians, Stuart Mason & Emily, who visited the Taupo "standing stone circle" site in June 2005. I already knew that the site existed and had visited it, but had never had time to assess it. Stuart and Emily noted that a subdivision (Wharewaka Estate) was underway adjacent to the standing stone observatory and were very concerned that bulldozers might dislodge the stones, thus obscuring the ancient scientific knowledge built into each component position. Their concerns were very warranted, as observatory positions within the subdivision area have been destroyed.

The largest boulder of the entire site is found opposite the gateway into the new subdivision and its immense size would indicate it was the main hubstone, situated in that position to align across Motutaiko Island to the centre cone of Mount Tongariro then onward to the peak of Mount Cook. It also appears to have used the azimuth angle of 60.75-degrees to the summit of Mount Tauhara, which, if correct, provided a lunar period mathematical progression. The size of this stone is comparable to that of some obelisks at Avebury Henge in Southern England. If it has been shunted any significant distance from its original tumbled position by bulldozers, in order to provide a grandiose entryway into the subdivision, then decipherment of the site will be rendered a little more difficult, until we can ascertain (from old topographical photos, scaling and trigonometry) the giant obelisk's exact former position. It must be relatively close to its original position and chances are it hasn't been moved more than a few feet from where the ancient Ngati Hotu astronomer-surveyors placed it.

On a "macro" scale, this shunting will not affect the alignment to Mt. Cook. However, on a "micro" scale, it will seriously affect the codes of distance and angle to each stone component of the immediate observatory site. Both the exact position and orientation of the huge hubstone will need to be restored before the codes inbuilt into each component position can be identified with accuracy. When the hubstone is fully back in place we should be able to identify each separate tutorial (astronomical and navigational) that the ancient "Masters of the Craft" were giving to their initiate students.

One disastrous consequence of this new subdivision is that the stone markers to the North and NNW of the hubstone have now been destroyed. The Taupo District Council had in their possession an observatory site of international importance. This would have attracted tourists from all over the world, had our regional archaeologists done their job and given the council correct advice. The chronic problem in New Zealand is that our archaeologists are either insufficiently trained or totally controlled by big business and iwi. Most of the time they're simply not allowed to undertake any kind of proper scientific investigation, but are obliged to produce results convenient and acceptable to the PC regime controllers and corridor-creeper overseers. Whereas I often berate our establishment archaeologists for their moral cowardice, I also feel sorry for them, knowing full-well that they're in an employment bind and no-win situation, which forbids them to do their job in behalf of their true employer, the public of New Zealand.

The unfortunate fact of the matter is that our establishment or contracted archaeologists are paid out of the public purse (council or otherwise) and, technically, work for the public, but are obliged to bare-face-lie to the public and fudge results to suit the vested interests of iwi and other overseer controllers. There are huge sins of commission and sins of omission, wherein the unsuspecting, dumbed-down public are deceitfully used and misled.

Local iwi kaumatuas and elders must have had some inkling concerning the importance of this site at Ernest Kemp Rise. Surely, there is some mention about the surveying and alignment functions of these stones in the old oral traditions of the district. There must be at least one old song that speaks of the stone markers or mountains that look at each other, just as Ngapuhi have preserved some of their alignment songs of Northland, such as:

He mea hanga
Ko papa-tuanuku te papa-rahi
Ko nga maunga nga poupou
Ko te rangi e titiro iho neu te tuanui
Ki te paiaka o te riri, ki te kawa o RAHIRI
titiro ki PANGARU, ki PAPATA
Ki te rakau tu papata i tu ki te Taihauru
titiro ki TOKERAU
titiro ki MANAIA
titiro ki TUTU-MOE
titiro ki MANGANUI
Ko te whare ia tenei o NGA-PUHI
(from Eru Pou, Kaikohe...recorded by Joan Leaf)

This is how it is made:
The earth is the floor
The mountains the supports
The sky we see above is the roof
From TE RAMAROA look toward WHIRIA
The seat of our war-like prowess
The ancestral line of RAHIRI
From WHIRIA look toward PANGARU - to PAPATA
To the thickly growing trees which extend to
the western sea
From MAUNGA-TANIWHA look toward TOKERAU (Bay of Islands)
From RAKAU-MANGAMANGA to MANAIA (Whangarei Head)
This is the house of NGA-PUHI

An ancient song preserved by Nga-Puhi, handed down in oral tradition from the Patu-paiarehe who established marked alignment systems and purpose built trigs across Northland, many of which survive to this day. Just as at Taupo, the alignment systems are a combination of erected obelisk stones, boulder cairns and huge tor mounds, orientating onto the highest mountain tops. Nga-Puhi oral traditions also mention a linking alignment running from atop Maunganui Bluff (mentioned in the ancient song) to Mount Taranaki (245.57-miles distant at an azimuth angle of 354.15-degrees..which was, undoubtedly, read as 354.375 in mnemonic reference to the 354.375-days in the lunar year). The distant mountain (Taranaki) could be seen "out to sea" on a clear day, either by direct sight or due to it's reflection onto clouds. Oral traditions state that where the line from Maunganui Bluff crossed the land at Taranaki en route to the mountain, it traversed the region of an important "School of Learning". This reference is, undoubtedly, to "Koru PA"* (a huge stone enclosure with its own "standing stone circle and obelisk alignment systems), which functioned in the capacity of an "open air university" (the forerunner to the Maori whare waananga). See:

*Footnote: The line runs very closeby @ 2.7 miles east of the Koru PA observatory hubstone.

In dealing with markers identified in this series of articles, please consider the following:

The ancient Patu-paiarehe people mapped the entirety of their country thousands of years ago and preserved knowledge of the alignments in song or cadence rhythm chants, which came into the possession of those who later conquered and absorbed these early tangata-whenua or taniwha races.

Iwi at Taupo must know about the very ancient Ngati Hotu stone walls and terraces on Motutaiko Island and elsewhere around the district and that the Island was used as a leper colony, after leprosy was brought to New Zealand by people arriving from Melanesia.

Sites like this immense observatory at Ernest Kemp Rise are a national and international treasure of tremendous importance, as they are a mine of irreplaceable information. For the future enlightenment of ourselves, our children and our children's children, these ancient observatories have to be preserved at all cost. Those who built them, using hefty, eternally enduring stone, did not take into account the destructive potentialities of the modern day bulldozer. They most certainly could not have envisioned the rampant avarice of modern day developers, working in conjunction with bought-off, turn-a-blind-eye iwi partners-in-crime or ignorant, gullible county council lackeys, all-too-willing to sign away our national inheritance for short-term financial gain.

Nor could anyone have foreseen the incompetence, deliberate or otherwise, of our educated elite, who stand idly by and condone our irreplaceable archaeological treasures being bulldozed into oblivion.

Martin Doutré.

December 2005 - March 2006.