New Zealand Archaeology Week 2022

With Covid restrictions impacting community events around the country, New Zealand Archaeology Week (23 April to 1 May) is having to adapt with many activities resorting to virtual presentations, but still with a focus of reaching out to younger generations.

Archaeologists and students gather at the water's edge to study fish traps.
The stone fish trap in action near Kerikeri. Photo: HNZPT.expand/collapse

This annual event is organised by the New Zealand Archaeological Association (NZAA), with the objective of increasing public awareness of archaeology in New Zealand. Archaeology Week promotes the work of New Zealand archaeologists at home and abroad, and the importance of protecting our archaeological heritage.

Heritage New Zealand Pouhere Taonga offices are promoting archaeology mostly with virtual presentations. In Christchurch, Dr Rosemary Baird is developing a new podcast episode for her earlier Aotearoa Unearthed series, about Northland’s WII sites. She is also working with University of Canterbury intern, Laura Blythell, who will be creating some social media videos on an archaeological collection linked to Ada Wells, a suffragist in New Zealand, and colleague of Kate Sheppard.

In Wellington, Mary O’Keeffe will share a virtual presentation on Thursday 28 April entitled ‘Gowns, Streams, and Essence of Filth – Early Life in Newtown, Wellington’. She has support from fellow Wellington archaeology consultants, Kevin Jones, who will share a virtual presentation on 26 April, ‘The Richest River in the World – Gold Mining in the Upper Shotover in Central Otago’; and Victoria Grouden, on 27 April, with ‘Human Innovation Seen Through the Archaeological Record: Earth, Structure and Object’.

In the Far North, Heritage New Zealand Pouhere Taonga Northland office staff are organising a hands-on opportunity for young people to use an archaeological fish trap near Kerikeri to catch some fish. Hundreds of years old, the stone fish trap still works well. The event will take place at Quince’s Landing Fish Trap on Thursday 28 April, with registrations opening at midday and finishing about 3pm.

Sarah Phear, an archaeologist in the Northern Office in Auckland will present a talk on the upgrade of the Fort Street area in Auckland where archaeological remains were exposed and investigated providing a glimpse of 19th century life along the foreshore of the commercial area of Auckland/Tāmaki Makaurau. This digital talk goes to the locations where evidence of the growing city was found, including timber remains, a refuse layer on the seabed consisting of hundreds of artefacts and evidence of the fire that burnt down the old Post Office in 1872. Details of the talk will be posted on various heritage websites.

Staff in the Heritage New Zealand Pouhere Taonga Bay of Plenty office in Tauranga will also be lending their support to NZAA plans for Archaeology Week.

Full details of activities for New Zealand Archaeology Week will appear on the NZAA website, the Heritage New Zealand Pouhere Taonga website and Facebook in the near future.

- David Watt