Graham Ibell – A New Map for Aotearoa/New Zealand? (part 2)



In part 1 a brief description of the most commonly used mundane charts for New Zealand was given. A new map was proposed, drawn for the first footfall of the colonial power on New Zealand soil when the British Captain Cook landed from The Endeavour on late afternoon of the 8th October 1769 in Poverty Bay. The confusion around dating this landing was discussed, and a justification for the unorthodox choice of the astronomically ‘incorrect’ date proposed. In part 2 a few key rectification events are outlined, and evidence of the chart’s aptness and efficacy given.

Below, part 2 continues on from Part 1


Whilst I won’t offer a full description of the extensive rectification procedure used to settle on a time for this chart, below are a few key directions that helped empirically to back up my decision to settle with the 8th of October, and a few further comments on the rectification process.

The technical considerations that helped me to decide between the 8th and 9th arose out of the consequent Moon placements. Given the approximate time of footfall was clear, the Moon would be placed at either around 17º Capricorn (8th) or 29º Capricorn (9th). Relevant events were set against secondary progressions, solar arc directions and transits to, and from, both Moon positions. Here are a few of these, relevant to the placement of the Moon on the 8th, that is at 17º Capricorn (orbs are quoted for a 5:04pm LMT chart):

Uranus transits to 17º Capricorn Moon

Opposition in 1868/69: Maori leaders Te Kooti and Titokowaru instigated strong resistance movements in the New Zealand wars. As the Tangata Whenua I argue that Maori have particular association with Moon (as ruler of the 4th house).

Conjunction in 1909: The formation of the Federation of Labour, a highly politicised affiliation of unions based on radical American models. Note in this chart Moon rules the 4th house of the People and is in the organisation sign of Capricorn.

Conjunction in 1992: Major housing reform, including the commercialisation of state housing (again, note the symbolic connection with the 4th house and Capricorn).

Pluto transits to 17º Capricorn Moon

Square in 1840: Signing of the Treaty of Waitangi (see chart above). Orb 0º09’.

Opposition in 1928-30: the beginning of the Great Depression; the severe Murchison earthquake on 17th June 1929 (R7.3). Orb 0º01’. ‘Black Saturday’ in Samoa on 28th December 1929. Orb 1º30’.

Conjunction in 2016-17: Kaikoura Earthquake (R7.8). Orb 1º49’ (Moon ruler of the 4th house of the land); Jacinda Ardern becomes Prime Minister. Orb 0º11 (Moon in 10th in Capricorn a symbol of feminine leadership).

Solar Arcs onto and from 17º Capricorn Moon

SA Pluto conjunct Moon: At Grass Cove in Queen Charlotte Sound on 17th December 1773 ten members of Cook’s second expedition were killed and eaten and two Maori killed, in the worst altercation in Cook’s three extensive visits. Orb 0º04’S.

SA Jupiter conjunct Moon: The first Wesleyan Mission established on 6th June 1823. Orb 0º07’A.

SA Moon conjunct IC: Election of first female MP on 13th September 1933. Orb 0º07’.

SA Moon opposite Pluto: NZ general orders the destruction of a monastery in the Battle of Monte Cassino in Italy, on the 15th March 1944, resulting in one of the most costly days for New Zealand in World War II. Orb 0º09’A.

I also looked for similarly well symbolised events for the chart drawn for the 9th October, with the Moon placement at 29ºCapricorn, but found none remotely as compelling or as close. It’s important to note that at this stage in the rectification process I was convinced by my discovery that Cook had in fact landed on the 9th October, so was dismayed to observe the lack of fitting directions to support it.

In terms of honing the time, an early decision involved which side of about 5pm nautical time within the narrowed time window of 4:35pm – 5:20pm to position the decisive timing moment in Cook’s landing, his footfall. Before 4:59:36pm, Pisces rises; after, Aries. The implications of this decision are major, given all four angles move sign and at times around 5pm all other house cusps change signs. The Ascendant carries a picture of the core myths that organise a nation, its salient national characteristics and self-image. It seemed clear that Aries was the correct Ascendant for a variety of reasons, including the NZ cultural identity (competitive and sporty, pioneering, independent with the sustained ‘Man Alone’ myth, initiating ‘can do’ attitude, belief that the nation “packs a lot of punch” for its size etc.), but, significantly, also the confrontational start within the birth story of this nation. Mars in Libra (polite and friendly, peace- and justice-motivated, socially restrained aggression) makes a much more appropriate chart ruler for New Zealand than Jupiter in Scorpio.

The commitment to a Aries Ascendant narrowed my proposed time window down to between 5pm and 5:20pm (nautical time), which I then narrowed further using a variety of standard astrological timing methods against an extensive list of timed events throughout New Zealand history. As I saw event after event show themselves so perfectly, even poignantly, symbolised by a birth time between 5:10 – 5:13pm (nautical time) my strong inclination towards Aries rising was validated. Convinced of a time between 5:11 and 5:12, I used one of the most important events in New Zealand history, the signing of the Treaty of Waitangi on the 6th of February 1840, as my ‘anchor’ direction, setting my proposed time for when the Ascendant progressed into Gemini at 5:11:49pm. This converts to 5:03:53pm LMT, which I’ve rounded to 5:04pm.

Here is a small sample of some of these directions which help pinpoint or corroborate the time to within 1-3 minutes. The symbolic links to the chart are mostly obvious so won’t be spelled out, but I encourage you to explore their relevance and connection yourself.

Progressed Sun enters Sagittarius, just inside the 9th house when the first Christian mission station was founded in December 1814.

Solar Arc Uranus conjunct IC for the beginning of the Musket Wars in November 1821. Whilst not immediate obvious symbolism the introduction of this technological warfare was an immensely shocking game-changer that radically altered and escalated inter-tribal warfare.

Solar Arc Moon conjunct Ascendant for the enacting of legislation that allowed private land sales on 26th March 1844.

Solar Arc Mars conjunct Midheaven for the founding of the NZ Army on the 25th March 1845, and Hone Heke’s defiant symbolic gesture of cutting down the Waitangi flagpole four times (last time on 11th March 1845).

Progressed Midheaven conjunct progressed Uranus for the granting of universal suffrage on 18th September 1893, the first country in the world to do so. This was also during the transiting Uranus opposition, and within three weeks of a solar eclipse at 16º46’ Libra, only 0º12’ from the chart’s Mars – chart ruler.

Total Solar Eclipse on 10th house Pluto (1º away) within 3 weeks of parliament burning down on 11th December 1907.

Progressed Sun conjunct Ascendant for the election of the first Labour government on the 6th December 1935. The Prime Minister elect, Michael Joseph Savage, without doubt the closest New Zealand has ever had to political royalty, has his Sun precisely on this point, 2º Aries.

Progressed MC and ASC move simultaneously into Cancer and Libra respectively for NZ joining the United Nations (ratified 19th September 1945).

Transit of Saturn at 2º01’ Libra, 0º30’ from Descendant, when the ANZUS treaty was signed on 1st September 1951.

Transiting tight cardinal grand cross, (Jupiter-Uranus, Moon, Saturn, and Pluto at 2º29’ Capricorn, 0º02’ from MC), on all four angles, at the intense and destructive Darfield earthquake (R7.2) on 4th September 2010, followed within months by the catastrophic Christchurch earthquake (R6.2) on 22nd February 2011, with similar though less tight transits.

Solar Arc Uranus conjunct Moon for the rapid rise, then unexpected election, of Jacinda Ardern on 20th October 2017. Transiting Pluto was also conjunct Moon (orb 0º17’). These were accompanied by Progressed MC on Neptune, such an apt image of ‘Jacindamania’, the public’s adulation and redemptive projections onto her at the time.


A chart is of little relevance – no matter how historically indicated – if it is unable to yield symbolism accurately reflective of that which it is describing, both through basic natal placements and timing measures such as transits and progressions. At the risk of apparent circular reasoning, above I have outlined some ways Aries rising and the ruling Mars in Libra show themselves quite clearly in New Zealand’s national identity, along with the events used in rectification previously discussed – many of very tight orb – which show the chart as highly sensitive to transits and progressions. To add to this, below I list a few ways I see the chart expressive of the nation and people of New Zealand and a quick tour through the Saturn returns. Both add weight to the chart as a potent and sensitive map of this country.

National Characteristics

  • Pragmatism and earthy nature – Moon in Capricorn. Grand Trine in Earth.
  • Polite, friendly, fair, conflict-shy, egalitarian – Libra Sun and ruling planet.
  • The significance of the feminine in leadership – Moon in Capricorn in the 10th house.
  • “Tall Poppies” syndrome – Saturn in Leo (fear/suppression of shining) in the 4th house; humble Venus in Virgo dispositor of the Sun and chart ruler Mars.
  • Very ‘other-centred’ nation, reliant on agreements and treaties and trading partnerships – 7th house Sun and chart ruler.
  • Traditional economic importance of the sheep industry – Aries on the 2nd cusp.
  • Despite challenges to this, an underlying strong and enduring tie with the UK – Moon on the UK Sun at 10º Capricorn.
  • “No. 8 wire” resourcefulness and inventiveness – Uranus in Taurus in the 2nd house, trine Moon.
  • “Clean and Green”: The image of environmental purity – Venus, conjunct Neptune, in Virgo (suggesting something of its illusionary nature).
  • Publicly projected image of cultural integration and relative harmony, belying friction and inequality  – Sun-Mars in Libra, in tense square with Moon-Pluto.
  • ‘Mateship’, the rather ‘blokey’ bonding, especially in male friendships – Mars-Sun in Libra in the 7th house.
  • High use of alcohol – Moon trine Neptune.
  • High levels of domestic violence and (youth) suicide – Moon-Pluto square Mars

Saturn Returns

Saturn in Leo in the 4th on the cusp of the 5th rules the 10th house of government & ruling authority, international image and collective aspirations. Bear this in mind as I list all but the first of the Saturn Returns along with key associated events, some rather playful yet symbolically resonant:

  1. 1828-29: Wakefield proposes colonisation.
  2. 1858: first Maori King crowned (5ºA).
  3. 1887-88: PM Atkinson applies “prudence, restraint and self-sufficiency” to curb a deep depression
  4. 1916-17: first Governor General (0º41’A)
  5. 1946-47: Statute of Westminster adopted Nov 1947, granting NZ full autonomy from the UK.
  6. 1975-76: Waitangi Tribunal established Nov 1975 (0º42’ station); Montreal Olympics boycott July 1976 (3ºS)
  7. 2005: PM David Lange (Leo) dies; Prince William tours during Lions tour July (exact).

Finally I would like to look briefly at the New Zealand chart against the Christchurch shootings on the 15th March 2019, given this event occurred after I had completed the work on this chart and presented my findings at the Auckland astrology conference in December 2018. In a sense it acts as a possible support of this chart.

With the transiting Saturn-Pluto conjunction, at less than a 4º orb, on the chart’s Moon I think we have here a tragic but significant confirmation of the chart’s time and my choice of date. With Moon as 4th house ruler, conjunct Pluto and square Mars-Sun (which forms the most striking – and challenging – signature in this chart), here’s the image of the intense trauma suffered by the people of New Zealand, and, with Moon being in the 10th and in the authoritative sign of Capricorn, a reflection of the intense pressures on the Prime Minister, Jacinda Ardern. Transiting Chiron within 1º of the Ascendant seems also very poignant. 


This article has been prepared in order to record the justification, history, complicating factors and necessary rectification of what I consider a very significant map for the nation of Aotearoa/New Zealand, one I believe very worthy of further study and incorporating into our mundane practices. In a future article I would like to share further explorations of it historically and predictively, demonstrating its aliveness using techniques such as synastry, composite charts, astro-cartography, local space vectors, eclipse analyses, and various timing techniques. Through a standard planet disposition, reception, aspect and house analysis, including investing particular significations in the planetary symbolism as a way of connecting this chart deeply with the entity it is imaging and so doing bringing it really alive, I hope to show that this chart offers forth exciting opportunities for understanding the country and culture/s, enabling more incisive and useful predictions, and showing the almost luminous vibrancy of a chart that profoundly and elegantly works.


General References

Baigent, M, N. Campion and C Harvey, 1984: Mundane Astrology: an introduction to the astrology of nations and groups. Aquarian Press.

Campion, Nicholas, 2004: The Book of World Horoscopes, 3rd Edition. The Wessex Astrologer.

Geoffrey Cornelius, 2003: The Moment of Astrology: Origins in Divination, revised 2nd edition. The Wessex Astrologer.

Comments or suggestions to are very welcome


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