Te Ika-a-Māui, New Zealand

Hello! Kia ora!

My first stop on the 2016 Global Archaeology journey was New Zealand! I joined a team of archaeologists from Opus International Consultants Ltd. excavating a Maori horticultural sites on the North Island (Te Ika-a-Māui). This was a fascinating stop on the Global Archaeology journey as they were the only pre-development sites visited. Bring on the hard hat and steel-toed boots!

Understanding how the Waikato Basin was exploited for horticulture by the Maori is integral to understanding how the landscape was inhabited before the arrival of Europeans. Two interesting features of pre-European Maori horticulture that help archaeologists to identify these sites are ‘made soils’ and ‘borrow pits’. The creation of ‘made soils’ involves the addition of sand, gravel and/or charcoal to the natural soil in order to increase soil fertility, improve aeration and drainage, and to more effectively protect the plants from frost damage. Borrow pits were dug to remove the sandy soils below the topsoil to add it to the ‘made soils’.

For more information on New Zealand’s archaeology and cultural heritage take a look at these sites:

Tourism New Zealand: official site

New Zealand Department of Conservation: Heritage

OPUS New Zealand: official site

New Zealand lived up to all my expectations. The natural beauty of the country blew me away, as did the archaeology! Follow these links for the Global Archaeology Blog posts:

Maori horticulture at the Te Parapara Garden, Hamilton Gardens

Digging in the Bay of Plenty

Pa: visiting Maori archaeology

Noho iho ra New Zealand! Goodbye!

View of Mount Maunganui from site