Archaeology Week captivates
May 30, 2023 | Stories

By David Watt

Heritage New Zealand Pouhere Taonga staff got in behind the New Zealand Archaeological Association, leading out on several events for the recent Archaeology Week.

Young children get in some practice as an archaeologist at Tōtara Estate. Photo: Heritage New Zealand Pouhere Taonga
The maritime archaeology two-day course held at Highwic. Photo: Heritage New Zealand Pouhere Taonga

Numerous engaging events unfolded during the highly anticipated New Zealand Archaeology Week, and the enthusiastic participation of Heritage New Zealand Pouhere Taonga staff added to its success. Led by the New Zealand Archaeological Association, these events took place in late April and May, engaging archaeology enthusiasts from various backgrounds.   

One remarkable highlight of the week was Dr. Rosemary Baird's latest podcast episode, delving into the archaeology and cultural monitoring in Kaikōura as part of the North Canterbury Transport Infrastructure Recovery project (NCTIR). Listen to the podcast here.

In Ōamaru, the Otago-Southland team collaborated with Tōtara Estate to organise a captivating archaeology afternoon. Drawing significant attention was the Archaeology Open Day at Fyffe House in Kaikōura, where 85 adults and 45 children eagerly explored the historical wonders. Ann McCaw, Property Lead at Fyffe House, along with Canterbury-West Coast archaeologist Frank van der Heijden, orchestrated the event, receiving support from Te Awhina Arahanga, curator of Te Whare Taonga at Takahanga Marae, and the dedicated staff of Kaikōura Museum.   

Venturing to the Far North, numerous visitors flocked to the Procter Library in Kerikeri to view the exhibit titled Ngā Kōhatu O Aotearoa. This visual display showcased the stones used by Māori in their everyday lives, providing a unique insight into their early culture.   

Meanwhile, in Auckland's historic Highwic, Dr. Kurt Bennett and Matt Gainsford spearheaded a comprehensive two-day AIMA NAS (Australian Institute for Maritime Archaeology, Nautical Archaeological Society) training course on maritime archaeology. Ten students participated, immersing themselves in both theoretical knowledge and practical applications to record Aotearoa New Zealand's maritime cultural heritage. These aspiring marine archaeologists received certificates that would enable them to partake in international maritime archaeological projects.   

Highwic, with its rich heritage, served as an ideal venue for this enlightening experience, combining public education with the celebration of the property's historical significance. Furthermore, plans are already underway for future AIMA NAS courses to continue nurturing maritime archaeology enthusiasts.   

Wellington hosted a series of captivating presentations coordinated by Mary O'Keeffe and her team of archaeological consultants. "Art and Archaeology", led by artists Andrew Beck and Isobel Joy te Aho-White alongside archaeologist Meredith Robertshawe, offered a fascinating exploration of intangible landscapes through a captivating walk-and-talk in Te Aro. Additionally, Mary O'Keeffe, together with Wellington City's chief archivist Adrian Humphris, shared the intriguing history of the city through maps, while archaeologist and PhD candidate Eva Forster-Garbutt presented on "Buildings and Archaeology" at Victoria University of Wellington.

At Wellington City Libraries’ Te Awe Library on Brandon Street, four esteemed archaeology consultants took the stage to deliver captivating presentations. Victoria Grouden shed light on the intersection of archaeology and the Wellington City District Plan, while Emily Howitt uncovered the unexpected discovery of an artesian well on the new National Archives site in Wellington. Sarah Dugdale shared intriguing insights on textiles found in Chinese graves associated with the Central Otago goldfields, and Mary O'Keeffe offered a fascinating glimpse into the peculiarities of early Wellington City through her presentation titled "Weird Wellington", which divulged curious facts and features unearthed by archaeological investigations.

Celebrating its seventh edition, New Zealand Archaeology Week brought together the archaeology community, museums, heritage organisations, volunteer groups, and tangata whenua in a collaborative effort to showcase the rich cultural heritage and historical significance of Aotearoa New Zealand. The week proved to be a remarkable testament to the nation's commitment to preserving and sharing its archaeological treasures with the public.  

Find out more about the New Zealand Archaeological Association here.

Archaeology Week 2023
Watt, David (author)

David Watt | Senior Outreach Advisor Regional Services
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