On the northern coastline of New Zealand’s South Island is a geological wonder that is world renown, traditionally called Split-Apple Rock due to its appearance as a giant sliced-in-two apple.

The giant boulder, given its height and fairly symmetrical round shape of about 18-feet in diameter, could weigh as much as 238 imperial tons (242 metric tonnes).

It appears to sit on a boulder pile composed of similarly high quality, hard granite components, whereas the general material of the surrounding area is of a softer or more-flaky composition, totally unlike the split-apple boulder or the platform boulders upon which it is cradled and housed.

The evidence suggests very strongly that this is not a natural geological stack, but a purpose built one to serve an important astronomical and calendar function.  

A stock photo from the Internet shows just how immense this granite boulder actually is. Remarkably, there appear to be little or no similar examples of large, dense granite boulders strewn about anywhere within view, as one would reasonably expect to find.

The general terrain of the area is predominantly a composite rock, made up of many varying elements. It is semi-hard and durable but quite crumbly under pressure and could never be used for making stone blocks. Whereas the incredibly hard granite found on the split-apple boulder was formed from molten magma under tremendous pressure far beneath the Earth’s crust, the immediate-vicinity, local terrain is seemingly devoid of any known deposits of similar material.

The giant split boulder sits on a boulder pile platform-island that does not appear to be a natural rock up-thrust, but more like a purpose built, piled-up structure of high quality, durable support boulders. The giant Split-Apple also seems to be locked into position by chock boulders to underpin, cradle and stabilise the two giant halves firmly into a set position and orientation.

The split boulder forms a gunsight-type “V” that points accurately at the vertical, lower edge of the sea-cliff 330-feet away (100 metres), at an angle approaching 59.5-60 degrees azimuth.

From the beach viewing position, one visually aligns the base of the split-apple “V” with the vertical edge of the cliff to form an accurate alignment onto the winter solstice, first-glint sunrise position. The sun, rising on a slight diagonal to the left (North), then climbs the edge of the cliff to launch itself into the sky from the cliff top. From the position of observation at beach level the sea horizon conjuncts perfectly with the base of the “V” and first-glint of the sun occurs low in the “V”.

The winter solstice sun climbing the cliff edge. The first-glint position seen at the base of the “V” represents the most northerly position the rising sun will move to in its annual journey up and down the eastern sea horizon and distant land-masses.


'Almost all the area enclosed by the boundaries of the National Park is comprised of the grey-white Separation Point granite, which is thought to be about 100 million years old
(Thomas 1969: 1).
There are few places where the quality of the rock is good enough for large blocks to stand quarrying without shattering (Dennis 1985: 68).
Outcrops of marble on the Pikikiruna Range and granite at Tonga, Adele Island and Torrent Bay have been quarried for building stone (Henderson 1959: 23).'

The nearest source of supply for high quality granite durable enough to withstand the ever-present lashing of stormy seas was, seemingly, Adele Island 3-miles across the water to the NNE, whereas there's nothing in the offering immediately adjacent around the beach or cliffs where split apple rock sits on its platform.

Perhaps the source of supply was Tonga Island, 10-miles further around the coast where the quality of the stone was such that it gave rise to the establishment of a quarrying business.
Stone from this quarry was used to build the New Zealand Parliament and Chief Post Office buildings in Wellington, as well as other stately public buildings in Nelson as elsewhere.

The Tonga Bay Quarry Company (1904 to 1921) work and dwelling buildings. The company flourished for a decade until about 1914, then wound down its operations and was finally struck off the register of companies in 1921. 

At Tonga Island large bulbous boulders, similar in size to split-apple rock, can still be seen at the water’s edge below the steep cliffs. Geological analysis of the constituent-composition of the Split-Apple boulder would pin-point the source from which the massive boulder was acquired.

The fact that the “V” in the split boulder orientates perfectly onto the winter solstice sunrise-point at the greatest extremity of the sun’s northern journey, coupled with the platform-cradle into which the boulder has been carefully placed and chocked, allowing the base of the “V” to conjunct simultaneously with the more distant cliff-edge and the sea horizon, demonstrates that this is a purpose-built structure and not a natural occurance.

The opportunity is certainly there for geologists to study this anomaly and arrive at a definitive conclusion as to exactly where the boulder came from, but under the present, politically-correct impositions that dominate and restrict all New Zealand archaeology this won't happen.

As for the "summer" solstice sunrise position, as witnessed from the beach observation point from which the winter solstice is viewed through the Split-Apple “V”, that would occur on the high range that divides Nelson and Marlborough Provinces.

From the Split-Apple Rock beach observation position the summer solstice line would extend across the range to resolve at Wairau Bar, where there was a large Moa Hunter settlement conceivably centuries or even thousands of years before Maori arrived on New Zealand shores.

Like the Celts of ancient Europe, the pre-Maori people of New Zealand set up solar paths for the wayfarer, based upon the equinox and solstice rise & set positions in order to travel accurately between coastal settlements on both sides of the North & South Islands.

The ancient inhabitants of Wairau Bar lived contemporaneously with many species of the now long extinct Moa birds and were even buried with Moa eggs and Moa bone necklaces amongst their grave goods. These burials were obviously long before the Polynesian Maori arrived on these shores.

Although originally touted before the public as being "the first" Eastern-Polynesian settlement in New Zealand (circa 1300 AD), the experts vacillate on this centrally moot point. The fact that Moa eggs, bones and necklaces were found amongst the grave goods poses a big problem and every creative ploy possible has to be conjured up to drag the dates of habitation into the "Maori epoch". Such things as suggesting the original settlement was composed of a tiny group in the early 1200s, which seeding population then grew to be a large colonising population in about a century, shows that the dates aren't fixed with solid evidence, only wishful thinking.

With the scientifically dated samples locked away from public view, our experts are now resorting to gobbledygook and double-speak to cover their proverbial arses before the public

'...the dates used by Wilmshurst were from egg shell dates from Wairau Bar (Higham et al. 1999) that had a similar probability span as the more recently obtained dates, and that the 1280 CE date suggested was based on the tail of the probability curve which is not an indicator of the temporal span of the site.'

Archaeological evidence of human made artefacts and cooked Moa bones, found beneath the volcanic ash-band layer at Poukawa, Hawkes Bay and dating from the circa 1350 BC Waimahia explosion (about 3400-years ago), attests to very early, Moa Hunter inhabitants of New Zealand.

When 13-year old Jim Eyles made the discovery of a skull and grave goods at Wairau Bar in 1939, it led to the site being considered the most significant find in New Zealand archaeological investigations up until that time or since. In reference to skeletons exhumed, Rangitane Maori elder, Manny MacDonald said: 

“It’s nothing to do with us … He’s not one of us”.

This kind of freely proffered admission used to be common and prevalent amongst the learned Maori elders: Historian Edward Tregear observed:

“The Maoris used to pay great respect to the bones of their dead, yet here and there may be found among sandhills, etc., human remains uncovered by the wind, and of these no tradition remains, as there would certainly be if the relics were those of ancestors. The natives say, “These are the bones of strangers.” So also mortuary-caves are found concerning the contents of which the Maoris make the same remark, and regard them with indifference (See, The Maori Race, by Edward Tregear, pp. 562-563).

In an article written for The Tasmanian Journal of Science in 1842 CMS Mission Printer, William Colenso wrote about the lack of knowledge Maori had concerning the giant Moa birds:

“From Native tradition we gain nothing to aid us in our inquiries after the probable age in which this animal lived; for although the New Zealander abounds in traditionary lore, both natural and supernatural, he appears to be totally ignorant of anything concerning the Moa save the fabulous stories already referred to. If such an animal ever existed within the time of the present race of New Zealanders, surely to a people possessing no quadrupeds, and but very scantily supplied with both animal and vegetable food, the chase and capture of such a creature would not only be a grand achievement, but one also, from its importance, not likely ever to be forgotten, seeing, too, that many things of minor importance are by them handed down from father to son in continued succession from the very night of history. Even fishes, birds, and plants anciently sought after with avidity as articles of food, although having never been seen by either the passing or rising generation of aborigines, are, notwithstanding, both in habit and uses, well known to them from the descriptive accounts repeatedly recited in their hearing by the old men of the village.”

Taking, then, the paucity of tradition as he supposed it, together with such other facts as he found them, Mr. Colenso came to the conclusion that:

“The period of time, then, in which I venture to conceive it most probable the Moa ceased to exist was certainly either antecedent or coetaneous to the peopling of these islands by the present race of New Zealanders.”

Likewise, Julius Von Haast drew the same conclusion after considerable research and interviews conducted with Maori in the South Island.

The solar observatory related attributes of Split-Apple Rock, as well as the huge engineering feat to set it up, has nothing recognisable to the known endeavours of the late arriving Polynesian-Melanesians and undoubtedly stems from an altogether different age and people who occupied New Zealand at a far more remote epoch.   


Again, at Kaiteriteri township is yet another cairn pile of boulders that appears to be purpose-built as a component part of yet another winter solstice sunrise observatory. The cairn heap sits 1.18-miles down the coast from Split-Apple Rock and serves the same exacting function as the cliff edge onto which Split-Apple rock orientates.

It appears that boulders have been removed from the abundant supply lining the coast and heaped up at a slightly offshore position. The heap centre sits, once again, about 330-feet (100 metres) from a “V” formed by an onshore bluff-peninsula and an offshore island.

A winter solstice observation line runs from the beach area of Kaiteriteri Township, passes through the "V" gap between the island and headland and resolves to the shoreline side of the cairn heap’s high centre.

An aerial shot of the winter solstice sun making its "first-glint"appearance over the sea horizon at Kaiteriteri.

By observing from the beach (station 1), viewing through the “V” (station 2), using the side of the boulder cairn for accurate orientation (station 3) and watching the winter solstice sunrise (station 4) the Kaiteriteri township modus operandi duplicates that of the Split-Apple Rock solar observatory further up the coast.

The winter solstice sun continues its rise.

The Kaiteriteri beach park-bench sits empty as photographer Serenity witnesses the winter solstice through an ancient, purpose-modified natural feature, put in place by New Zealand’s former inhabitants, to capture this significant annual event.

Modern day Kaiteriteri residents are oblivious to the fact that they have this archaeological-astronomical treasure sitting on their sea-front doorstep and there wasn’t another soul in sight. Serenity had the entire breath-taking moment all to herself. She was witnessing something that had been lost from memory … an ancient, working solar observatory that has escaped recognition for centuries or millennia.

The warming rays of the sun bath the frigid waters of the bay, creating a path of steamy mist.

Whereas the Split-Apple observatory provided a very finite fix on the winter solstice, suitable for an astronomer-priest to determine the actual solstice day for the benefit of the regional community, the Kaiteriteri observatory would provide a magnificent spectacle to the general population, where large numbers could gather together to witness and celebrate the solar event.

Observing the solstices and equinoxes assured everyone that their calendar counts throughout the year remained true, such that planting and harvesting of crops was done on time or determining when fish and bird migrations could be expected to commence, etc. Regulating life by accurate calendars gave ancient populations the best possible chance of survival and enjoying abundance.


Travelling northwest around the coastline from Kaiteriteri and Split Apple Rock one bypasses Separation Point lighthouse, to the west of which is a place of ancient habitation called Taupo Point PA. On December 19th, 1642 warriors, seemingly from this PA, canoe-rammed a row boat containing Dutch sailors of Abel Tasman’s exploratory expedition, resulting in 4 men being beaten to death by Maori or drowned. Abel Tasman then named the area “Murderer’s Bay” and sailed away.

The sign that sits at the former position of Taupo Point Pa, showing an artist’s impression of how the site looked in 1844. A traditional Maori saying or proverb associated with this site is:

‘Taupo sleeps beneath the sun; where are the people of the past?’

Note: Whenever the term Tangata Whenua was uttered or written throughout the 19th century and most of the 20th century, it always meant the strangers … Patu-paiarehe, Turehu, etc.) who inhabited New Zealand before the circa 1300 AD epoch of the Polynesian-Melanesian Maori.

A DOC (Department of Conservation) article, devoted to this region at the northern end of the South Island, touches upon legends of pre-Maori inhabitants:

'Maori cosmology and creation myths tell of predecessors of the earliest inhabitants of the region. Traces of their passing remain in the features of the landscape and names they have been given'.

Let's look at some of the handiwork left by the earlier people and the function of some landscape features as solar observatories ... for getting accurate sun-fixes on significant calendar dates:


Around New Zealand, many so-called Pa or settlements created by the Patu-paiarehe people doubled as solar observatories and Taupo Point Pa was no exception to this. Oft-times, these sites could not realistically serve the function of a defence area, so must have been built for another purpose.

Although the hillock peninsula is now thickly clad in trees, the former, purpose-built excavations were identified in an archaeological survey of the site by archaeologist Barry Brailsford. Amongst these dug features were sighting pits, where observers could sit in a set or fixed position of orientation. Site-plan courtesy of Barry Brailsford, from The Tattooed Land, pp. 83-83, Reed Publishing, 1981.

The archaeological report of 1972 assessed the hillock site as being unsuitable for defence and states:  ‘A very suitable site for a kainga (food gathering location), but hardly defendable as a pa, especially for its small size’.

The report went on to note: ‘Limestone outcrops make occupation unlikely.’

So, as long as no enemy was threatening, the area would have been a wonderful place to live long-term, with abundant sea resources and sunshine bathing the coastline.


A little over 19-miles to the northwest of Taupo Point, on the range above Collingwood township, is this outstanding geological feature, which would represent a perfect outer-marker target for a winter solstice sunset. The hill is a part of the Northwest Nelson Conservation Park.

While exploring the region at the time of the winter solstice, Julianne was intrigued to see the sun almost alighting on this hill and took several photos as a consequence.

The setting winter solstice sun overshoots the gunsight shaped hill on Collingwood range, which means that if the ancient astronomers wished to use the centre-hill as an outer-marker for the winter solstice fix, their observation point or station would have to be on an alignment that sat slightly further to the north.

A line-of-sight runs from the sighting pits atop Taupo Point Pa hillock to the centre of Collingwood's outstanding hill up on the range.

Calculations undertaken in Red Shift Astronomy Program verified that the sun would land in the centre of the Collingwood Hill, 19.5-miles distant, @ 301.66-degrees on the evening of the winter solstice, as witnessed from the observer’s position atop Taupo Point Pa.

Yes indeed, ‘Taupo sleeps beneath the sun; where are the people of the past?’

They are long gone now, vanquished from the region and not allowed to be remembered, but their working, sophisticated solar observatories yet remain as an eternal witness to Patu-paiarehe society’s presence and deep-set cultural practices.

Our old 19th century New Zealand history books quote many of the oral histories recounted by the tohunga and learned elders of the Maori of old and are replete with references to the long-term inhabitants incoming Maori found when they arrived.
These solar observatories at Kaiteriteri, Split-Apple Rock and Taupo Point are the handiwork of the ancient, former inhabitants and could be several thousand years old.

Let’s now move to yet another "Taupo" in the central North Island of New Zealand and look at some of other solar observatories tested during the Southern Hemisphere winter solstice of 2018.   


On the shores of Lake Taupo, at Wharewaka, a new subdivision was created in 2004 and during excavations a giant, semi-buried boulder was unearthed. Local educator-historian, Graham Parminter alerted me to the fact that the giant boulder had, what is very obvious to all who see and inspect it carefully, a human-carved seat in it.

Prior to 2004 the carved seat had lain unseen and undetected in subsoil under the recumbent boulder for centuries or millennia.

This anomaly has led this researcher to do concentrated probes of the district, making further amazing discoveries related to the “devil’s chair”-type boulder (as it would be called in Ireland, etc.) and its position of placement as an overland alignment, surveying position.

The giant boulder lying recumbent on its side, with the carved seat (formerly the top of the boulder) seen at its bottom right in this picture.

The chair is a component part of an overland mapping alignment that extends from Mt Edgecumbe near Kawerau on the East Coast, to Taupo and across the top of the “Devil’s Chair”, then over Motutaiko Island in the middle of Lake Taupo, then over the summit of (presently) dormant volcano Mount Tongariro, then scooting past Kaiteriteri township at a point 15-miles SSE, then resolving on Mt Cook, the highest mountain in New Zealand.

Sitting 185 metres away SE from the “devil’s chair” boulder is a secondary, standing-stone site of large obelisks and, from experience with other sites around the country, I would describe this one as an assembly area for the general population, where they could gather together  to celebrate festival events or learn cyclic-astronomical and navigational knowledge under the tutelage of a highly trained instructor.

Centrally positioned amidst the standing stones is a particularly large one, which, because of its size is recognisable as the hubstone or centre of the site.
See:  http://www.celticnz.co.nz/SolarObservatoriesNZ/SolarObservatoriesPart3.html 

From that position the winter solstice sun rises perfectly from the very centre of extinct volcano, Mount Tauhara.

Around New Zealand there are many such occurrences, where the ancient, pre-Maori inhabitants set up solar observatories and, where possible, the outer-marker for sunrise or sunset was a volcano. This was their way of returning fire to the volcanoes at equinoxes or solstices and, in the process, keeping their annual calendar counts 100% accurate. They were also a people who venerated the sun or sun-god and solar events were of great importance to them.

Our pre-calculations in the astronomy program, Red Shift, were right on the button and the sun rose perfectly from the centre crater of extinct volcano, Mount Tauhara when viewed from the central hubstone of the assembly area.

Just like at Kaiteriteri solar observatory the winter solstice sun finally obscured the outer-marker volcano in a blaze of blinding light.

On the top of the hubstone boulder, from which Mount Tauhara was targeted, there appears to be a bullaun bowl carved into the surface. For auspicious occasions such as the winter solstice celebration this would have been filled with water. In ancient Ireland, as elsewhere in Megalithic Great Britain or Continental Europe the bullauns were used for ritual washing or prayers and were carved into the blessing and cursing altar boulders (circa 3000 BC and after).

To the right of the picture is seen little Maunganamu (Mosquito Mountain) and, from the standing stone circle’s hubstone the equinoctial sun will be seen to rise at its southern base, then climb up the side of the mountain to launch itself into the sky. From the hubstone and very carefully placed assembly area outlier boulders, Maunganamu was the equinoctial sunrise outer marker.  

The hubstone, from the top of which our sunrise videos were shot with a 4K camera. We also used a camcorder on a tripod at the base of this stone and still cameras. In the late afternoon we videoed the sunset position to be in a prominent dip slightly north of Tuhingamata Hill (NW). That event would also have provided local priest-savants an accurate fix on exactly which day constituted the winter solstice.

The ancient standing stone arrangement on the shores of Lake Taupo, abandoned and not used for the avowed purpose for which it was built since the original inhabitants were driven from the region by incoming Arawa and later Tuwharetoa warriors. The newcomers seemingly never gleaned or gained knowledge of how the site worked or its significance.

The central large boulder seen towards the hillock summit is the hubstone and, in keeping with how other standing stone sites work overseas, the positions of outliers should be at coded distances and angles away from it. The encoded measurements and angles themselves will undoubtedly relate to such things as the lunar cycle durations, lunisolar calendar calculations, the equatorial circumference of the Earth (under two systems of ancient navigation) as well as solstice and equinox solar observations essential to keeping the calendar 100% accurate.

The key to unlocking the codes of this site would be in the realisation that the British Standard inch and foot have a much older pedigree than of that assumed by our so-called experts and are in direct ratio to the cubits of the great civilisations of antiquity. Code-bearing numerical values would also be generated by use of the ancient 360-degree angle system attributed to the Sumerians (but which is, in reality, much older than that civilisation).

As time permits, this researcher will attempt to extract the codes of position of this standing stone site and post findings into an article on this website.
For further reading see:
http://www.celticnz.co.nz/SolarObservatoriesNZ/SolarObservatoriesPart1.html  (13-parts)

Martin Doutre 29/6/18 ©