Parihaka shackles auction canned

02:13, Mar 05 2014
Parihaka shackles leg irons
Auctioneer Kevin Hayward with the controversial shackles.
Parihaka shackles leg irons
Dunedin's Parihaka Memorial on Portobello Rd.
Parihaka shackles leg irons
The cave where the leg irons were found.

Iwi protests have prompted the cancellation of an auction of leg irons thought to have been used to detain Parihaka prisoners in a Dunedin cave in the 1800s.

The historic hand-forged leg irons, removed from a cave in Portobello Rd in the 1970s, were to go under the hammer at Hayward's Auction House today.

It was believed the shackles could have been used to restrain Taranaki Maori from Parihaka who had offered passive resistance to the Crown seizing their lands.

They were transported to Dunedin as prisoners where they did hard labour around Otago Harbour in the late 19th century.

Dunedin man Steve McCormack withdrew them from sale after auctioneer Kevin Hayward received emails from iwi around the country protesting their public auction.

Negotiations were under way for the shackles to be analysed for authenticity by specialists at Toitu Otago Settlers Museum, Hayward said.