Ancient Māori tool found on Waikanae golf course's ninth fairway

A Māori adze unearthed during excavations of the Waikanae Golf Club's ninth hole in early October.
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A Māori adze unearthed during excavations of the Waikanae Golf Club's ninth hole in early October.

An old Māori tool unearthed on the ninth hole fairway at Waikanae's golf course has yet to be re-united with its traditional owners.

Archaeologist Andy Dodd was on site when the adze, or cutting tool, was found on the edge of a small wetland in August as the fairway was being re-aligned to accommodate the massive Ngarara subdivision being built next door.

Recorded archaeological sites near the course were mainly shell middens, he said. But human remains, including long bones and a vertebrae were found there in October 2000.

A map from the Ngarara subdivision website. The adze was unearthed as adjustments were made to the golf club's ninth ...
NGARARA.NZ

A map from the Ngarara subdivision website. The adze was unearthed as adjustments were made to the golf club's ninth hole to accommodate the massive housing project.

The earthworks were done subject to an archaeological authority from Heritage NZ, which required works to be monitored by an archaeologist.

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The earliest archaeological sites on the Kapiti Coast around Waikanae date from the fourteenth century. The area was settled by Muaūpoko until the nineteenth century.

From the early 1820s the area was settled by Te Ati Awa, who currently hold mana whenua, or tribal management rights.

Dodd said sites in the dunes around the golf course have not been dated, but a number of dates from shell midden sites excavated during the building of nearby sections of the new Kapiti expressway had been from the sixteenth century.

The small adze, fashioned from Nelson argillite, was likely a woodworking tool. It was uncovered from disturbed earth so it was impossible to accurately radiocarbon date it.

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"However, stone tools such as adzes were readily replaced with metal tools when these became available," Dodd said. Ministry for Culture and Heritage group manager delivery Heather Baggott said under the Protected Objects Act 1975 anybody who found taonga tūturu on public or private land had to notify the ministry or deliver it to a nearby public museum for notification.

"Such objects are in the first instance Crown-owned. The ministry takes responsibility for their care and custody. One of purposes of the act is to reconnect taonga with its traditional owners," Baggott said.

No claims had yet been made on the adze but claimants had until December 19 to express interest.

Iwi entities known to have an interest in the area had been told of the find, Baggott said.

 - Stuff

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