Pits

Mangaheia Station, Tauwhareparae Road, Tolaga Bay

  • Pits. Map produced from Quickmap, Version 6.3.112.
    Copyright: Heritage New Zealand.
  • Pits. Regional map of Tolaga Bay and surrounds showing the location of pits Y17/267. Map produced from MapWorld Topomap V2.0 (2).
    Copyright: Heriatge New Zealand.
  • Pits. Archaeological Site Land Title Form.
    Copyright: Heritage New Zealand.

List Entry Information

List Entry Status Listed List Entry Type Historic Place Category 2 Public Access Private/No Public Access
List Number 6552 Date Entered 25th September 1986

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Extent of List Entry

The registration includes part of the land described as Pt Lot 1 DP 372, Block XI Uawa Survey District, Gisborne Land District and the archaeological site Y17/267 (New Zealand Archaeological Association Site Record Number).

City/District Council

Gisborne District

Region

Gisborne Region

Legal description

Pt Lot 1 DP 372, Blk XI Uawa SD (CT GS1C/129), Gisborne Land District

Summaryopen/close

New Zealand Archaeological Association Site Record Number Y17/267 is a pit site that forms part of the dense archaeological landscape of the Tolaga Bay (Uawa) area. It is located on Mangaheia Station, to the west of the Tolaga Bay township.

Pit sites and the many other recorded archaeological sites including pa, midden, gardens and urupa reflect the intensive Maori occupation of the Tolaga Bay from the time of initial Polynesian settlement approximately 700 years ago. Access to abundant food resources from the sea, rivers, inland forests and horticultural production (kumara) meant that a large population could be sustained. It has been estimated that the early Maori population of Tolaga Bay totalled approximately 1200; and the main iwi was Te Aitanga a Hauiti.

Pit and pit/ terrace sites are very common in Tolaga Bay, and demonstrate the importance of horticulture to Tolaga Bay's earliest inhabitants. The Bay's fertile soils and temperate climate were well suited to kumara gardening, and the pits were used for storing harvested kumara over the winter months. Rectangular storage pits (which were once roofed with a layer of earth), are more prevalent than the underground storage pits found elsewhere in New Zealand, a pattern attributed to the harder substrate of the soil in this area. They are in fact the most common archaeological site type in Tolaga Bay, and are found along the river banks and on the rolling hills to the south of the Bay. They are generally located in clusters on knolls or terraces, as is the case with this site - Y17/267, or on ridge crests, in lines from end to end.

Pit site Y17/267 is located on a knoll on the southern side of the Waitahota Stream, west of the Mangaheia Station farm buildings at the end of Mangaheia Road. Gullies run to the east and west of the knoll and there is a concentration of native grasses to the south. Several other pit and pit/terraces sites are located in the surrounding area, notably pit and pit/ terrace sites Y17/268 - Y17/270 to the southeast. Two pa are located on the ridgeline directly to the south (Y17/145 and Y17/146).

This site was first recorded by R. Sheppard for the New Zealand Historic Places Trust in 1982, presumably as part of the archaeological survey work undertaken by archaeologist Kevin Jones in the Whangara, Tolaga Bay and Uawa Catchment areas in 1982-1983. This survey work was undertaken to gain information about the nature of prehistoric settlement in this locality, and also to evaluate specific sites for registration under the Historic Places Act 1980. Sheppard recorded two pits on the grassy knoll, both measuring 2 metres x 1 metre. Pit 'a' was 0.2 metres deep, and pit 'b' to the east was 0.3 metres deep.

Archaeologist Bridget Mosley was not able to relocate pit site Y17/267 during fieldwork for the New Zealand Archaeological Association Site Recording Scheme Upgrade Project in 2000, and it was not relocated with certainty during a New Zealand Historic Places Trust site visit in November 2007. A site with two pits on a knoll on the edge of the Waitahota Stream was located in the approximate vicinity of where Y17/267 was originally recorded, but could not be confidently identified as the same site. This site is located very close to Y17/268, which is only 3 -5 metres to the east.

Y17/267 is one of numerous pit and pit/terrace sites recorded in the Tolaga Bay area. It is part of a dense archaeological and cultural landscape that is of considerable significance to Te Aitanga a Hauiti, reflecting the intensive Maori occupation and settlement of the Tolaga Bay area since the 14th - 15th centuries AD, and the important role that horticulture played in this.

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Additional informationopen/close

Construction Dates

Public NZAA Number

Y17/267

Completion Date

9th March 2008

Report Written By

Joanna Wylie

Information Sources

Department of Conservation

Department of Conservation

Cooks Cove Walkway, Gisborne, 1998

New Zealand Journal of Archaeology

New Zealand Journal of Archaeology

Kevin Jones, 'Polynesian Settlement and Horticulture in Two River Catchments of the Eastern North Island, New Zealand, Volume 8, 1986, pp. 5 -32.

New Zealand Archaeological Association (NZAA)

New Zealand Archaeological Association

Site Record Form for Y17/267, original Site Record Form and 2000 update.

Historic Places in New Zealand

Historic Places in New Zealand

Kevin Jones, 'Tolaga Bay - Turangawaewae of Chiefs', No. 2, 1983, pp. 18-20

Other Information

A fully referenced upgrade report is available from the NZHPT Lower Northern Area Office

Iwi/ Hapu/ Whanau: Te Aitanga a Hauiti

Global Positioning Systems (GPS):

N/A - the site was not relocated during the New Zealand Archaeological Association Upgrade Project in 2000, and was not relocated with confidence during a New Zealand Historic Places Trust site visit in November 2007. The original grid reference coordinates for the site are:

Easting: 2965600, Northing: 6299400

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.