Pits

Iwinui Station, Tauwhareparae Road, Tolaga Bay

  • Pits.
    Copyright: NZ Historic Places Trust. Taken By: Joanna Wylie.
  • .
    Copyright: NZ Historic Places Trust. Taken By: Joanna Wylie.
  • .
    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 6640 Date Entered 10th March 1986

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Extent of List Entry

The registration includes part of the land described as Pt Paremata 3A Block, Gisborne Land District and the archaeological site Z17/212 (New Zealand Archaeological Association Site Record Number).

City/District Council

Gisborne District

Region

Gisborne Region

Legal description

Pt Paremata 3A Block (CT GS1C/1268), Gisborne Land District

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New Zealand Archaeological Association Site Record Number Z17/212 is a pit site that forms part of the dense archaeological landscape of the Tolaga Bay (Uawa) area. It is located on Iwinui Station, to the east 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, or on ridge crests, in lines from end to end, as found with this site - Z17/212.

Pit site Z17/212 is located in pasture on a small ridgeline running to the north of Racecourse Road, which heads east from Tauwhareparae Road to the Mangaheia swing bridge. The Mangaheia River is located just west of the site, as is a small stock pond. There are a number of other archaeological sites in the vicinity, such as those located on Taharangi hill to the south of Racecourse Road, most notably Taharangi pa itself (New Zealand Archaeological Association Site Record Number Z17/3).

This site was first recorded 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. Jones described the site as 'a number of pits and depressions along a ridge up to 20m above flats, and adjacent to Mangaheia Stream' and also noted that it had been eroded by stock. A sketch plan completed of the site illustrates a total of five pits (mostly 2 metres x 1 metre), one possible pit and what appear to be two small terraces.

Pit site Z17/212 was revisited by the New Zealand Historic Places Trust in November 2007. The site was under quite long pasture at the time of the visit, and the northern pits showed only as vague depressions. The southern pits on the approach up the ridgeline were not clearly observed, and are likely to have been damaged by the farm track that leads up the ridgeline, and/or stock trampling. There was also evidence of recent gorse burn-off.

Z17/212 is one of numerous pit and pit/terrace sites recorded in the Tolaga Bay area, and is part of a dense archaeological and cultural landscape that is of considerable significance to Te Aitanga a Hauiti. This landscape reflects 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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Construction Dates

Public NZAA Number

Z17/212

Completion Date

8th 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 Z17/212.

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

Iwi/ Hapu/ Whanau: Te Aitanga a Hauiti

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

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.