52‐54 Charlton Road, Te Awanga

  • Pits, Te Awanga.
    Copyright: Heritage New Zealand.
  • Pits, Te Awanga. Raised rim pit at W21/9.
    Copyright: Heritage New Zealand . Taken By: David Rudd. Date: 1/04/2014.
  • Pits, Te Awanga. Cutting for farm track into W21/9.
    Copyright: Heriatge New Zealand. Taken By: David Rudd. Date: 1/04/2014.

List Entry Information

List Entry Status Listed List Entry Type Historic Place Category 2 Public Access Private/No Public Access
List Number 6509 Date Entered 8th February 1985


Extent of List Entry

Extent includes part of the land described as Lot 1 DP 327818 (CT 113050), Hawke's Bay Land District, and the archaeological site known as Pits (W21/9) thereon. Refer to the extent map tabled at the Heritage New Zealand Board meeting on 25 June 2015.

City/District Council

Hastings District


Hawke's Bay Region

Legal description

Lot 1 DP 327818 (CT 113050), Hawke's Bay Land District


NZAA site W21/9 (New Zealand Heritage List no. 6509) is a pit/terrace site inland along the Maraetotara River valley on farmland off Charlton Road, at Clifton/Te Awanga. There are a number of these pit/terrace sites on this river terrace. The pits are predominantly of the raised rim variety. The presence of these pits indicates that the area was extensively used for horticulture.

Archaeological evidence and Maori oral history points to the settlement of Hawke’s Bay around 1250–1300 AD. Different hapu gradually settled the area from Mahia to Porangahau in a variety of different landscapes from the coast to the inland forests. Access to these inland areas was often via rivers like the Maraetotara.

The tangata whenua of the Te Awanga (Clifton) area can trace permanent occupation back to the Te Kakano or archaic period of Polynesian settlement. Isolated pockets of Kupe people settled along the Wairarapa coast and came into contact with the descendant of Whatonga who had migrated south from Mahia. Whatonga’s son Tara was born at Te Awanga and is the ancestor for Ngai Tara.

The sites in the area are associated with the descendants of Te Aomatarahi. Mahangapuhua, a son of Whiringarakau, established a pa called Te Pa o Mahanga at Te Awanga. Tama-ariki and Hine-te-ao also occupied this area. Later the area was under the influence of Te Whatui-a-piti through his son Hikawera. Through strategic marriage of the descendants of Ngati Kahungunu, Te Whatui-a-piti and Te Aomatarahi merged the people into the hapu of today. The main hapu interests in Te Awanga are Ngati Kurukuru, Ngati Hikatoa, Ngati Whakaiti, Ngati Ura ki te ao and Ngati Hawea.

The pit and terrace site reflects the importance of horticultural production (kumara) to sustain tangata whenua. The elevated river terraces of this area provided fertile land on which to grow crops which were then stored in the raised rim pits. When archaeologist Lady Aileen Fox recorded this site in 1975 there was a group of eight raised rim pits arranged in a rough circle around a small knoll on the east bank of the stream. A further four raised rim pits were on the river side. A greenstone chisel was also found in the vicinity in 1974.

During a site visit in 2014 it was noted that the area where the eight pits on the small knoll were recorded has been in-filled and the pits have had their rims cut off. Only five to six pits were evident on the surface as outlines only. A farm track cuts through the site, and a large rubbish hole has been dug into it. The four pits at the river side were not visited but an aerial view of the site suggests that their surface evidence appears to have been damaged by a newer farm access track. Consequently it is considered that the site is poor condition and its archaeological values have been compromised. The sites still contain archaeological information that could be extracted through an archaeological investigation, however the site’s value in terms of visible surface features has been removed.

At this point in time the location has not been identified with a specific Maori name.


Additional informationopen/close

Construction Dates

Public NZAA Number


Completion Date

3rd June 2015

Report Written By

Christine Barnett

Information Sources

Jones, 1994

Kevin L. Jones, Nga Tohuwhenua mai te Rangi: A New Zealand Archaeology in Aerial Photographs, Wellington, 1994

Parson, 2007

Parson. Pat. (2007) Cultural Impact Report, Prepared for the Hastings District Council by the Waimarama Maori Committee – Ocean Beach Facilitation team. Appendix II, An Overview History of Waimarama

Pollock, 2012

'Hawke’s Bay region - Māori settlement and occupation', Te Ara - the Encyclopedia of New Zealand, updated 13-Jul-12

Other Information

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.

A fully referenced upgrade report is available on request from the Central REgion Office of Heritage New Zealand