Raised-rim Pits

Paekakariki Hill Road (State Highway 1), Pauatahanui

  • Pits.
    Copyright: NZ Historic Places Trust.

List Entry Information

List Entry Status Listed List Entry Type Historic Place Category 2 Public Access Private/No Public Access
List Number 6138 Date Entered 4th March 1986


Extent of List Entry

Extent includes part of the land described as Lot 1 DP 368307 (CT 277518), Wellington Land District and the archaeological site known as Raised-rim Pits (R26/180) thereon (refer to the map attached to the Archaeological Site Land Title Form for more information).

City/District Council

Kapiti Coast District


Wellington Region

Legal description

Lot 1 DP 368307 (CT 277518), Wellington Land District


Setting: Situated along the crest at the northern end of a steep ridge immediately above (to east of) State Highway 1, opposite and to north of the northern engine sheds at Paekakariki Railway Station.

Archaeological Features: A series (circa 23) of square and rectangular raised-rim pits grouped in about 10 clusters and extending over a distance of about 600 metres along the ridge. Although a further pit is known to the south of this site (as R26/181) and a further cluster of four pits south of this again (as R26/182) this is the main concentration. Pits are distinct, up to about one metre deep, and up to 6 x 2.5 metres in dimensions.

Supporting Evidence: Pits are visible on air photos. Precise origin not known, but these pits possibly relate to the Ngati-Haumia (a branch of Ngati-Toa) of Wainui Pa, an important fortified village situated at the mouth of Wainui Stream. Carkeek (1966, map 8) shows the position of this pa, and also marks the pit sites on the ridge. Carkeek (1966, p. 152-3) quotes H.J.A. Kemp who visited Wainui Pa and saw kumara being grown "at the head of the valley" by Ngati-Haumia in 1850. It is thus likely that those pits represent elevated storage sites for kumara storage.

Condition of Site: Good. Pits are in grass, grazed by sheep, and are well-defined.

Assessment: The raised-rim pit complex appears to have been a large elevated storage area for kumara, grown on the flats below, possibly by the Ngati-Haumia of Wainui Pa. It is the largest known collection of pits in the Wellington area, and being well preserved is an archaeological feature of regional value.


Additional informationopen/close

Construction Dates

Public NZAA Number


Completion Date

28th January 1983

Report Written By

I W Keyes

Information Sources

Carkeek, 1967

W. W. Carkeek, The Kapiti Coast; Maori History and Place Names of the Paekakariki-Otaki District, Auckland, 1967 (2nd ed. 2004).

Other Information

Information in this report is from the citation prepared for the NZHPT Archaeology Committee at the time of the registration.

Please note that entry on the New Zealand Heritage List/Rarangi Korero identifies only the heritage values of the property concerned, and should not be construed as advice on the state of the property, or as a comment of its soundness or safety, including in regard to earthquake risk, safety in the event of fire, or insanitary conditions.