Canoe unearthed at beach

16:00, Feb 08 2010
MURIWAI DISCOVERY: Muriwai resident and local iwi representative Malcolm Patterson studies the waka being uncovered in the Okiritoto Stream.

A full-length Maori waka was unearthed at Muriwai Beach after a member of the public spotted it sticking out from the sand.

A canoe used for fishing and river travel, the waka tikai was discovered at the southern end of the beach.

It took a couple of days to plan its excavation so that the seven-metre waka would not be damaged.

Finding the whole length of a waka is fairly rare, as usually only sections are found, such as the prow or stern.

Auckland Regional Council parks staff and locals carefully moved the waka on to a truck, which took it to a temporary home at the regional council depot.

"It's difficult to date the waka because it may have been created from a tree many hundreds of years old, and there is no surrounding material that we can date," says ARC historic heritage specialist Robert Brassey.

"Everyone involved did a brilliant job moving the waka in a way that minimised damage, and they showed great commitment during the long hours we spent on site."

Although the waka has parts of its sides missing, it can potentially be preserved through treatment.

Conserving the waka is the first priority and its future will be decided after consultation with local iwi.


Rodney Times