30-56 Ihumātao Quarry Road, 545-619 Ōruarangi Road, 261-315 Ihumātao Road And Quarry Road, Ihumātao, Māngere, Auckland
Historical Significance or Value
Ōtuataua Stonefields has high historical significance for its connections with an unusually large range of important developments and events in New Zealand’s past. These include early human exploration and settlement; the adaptation of ancestral Polynesian horticulture to a New Zealand environment; and shifts in approaches to agricultural production by local communities during the ‘golden age of Māori enterprise’ in the 1840s-60s. They also encompass close associations with the foundation of the Kīngitanga movement, the Waikato War (1863-4) and raupatu or land confiscation. Additional developments of note include the creation of small-scale mixed farms at an early stage in European colonisation; and the subsequent rise of dairying - a major contributor to New Zealand’s economic prosperity during the twentieth century.
Ōtuataua Stonefields has high historical significance for its connections with ancestral peoples and events, including the ancestor Hape; arrival of the Tainui waka from Hawaīki, and subsequent intermingling of Tainui and other peoples.
The place is historically important for the extent to which is associated with the sometimes complex interrelationships between peoples in Aotearoa New Zealand.
Aesthetic Significance or Value
Ōtuataua Stonefields has aesthetic significance for incorporating a visually notable and atmospheric landscape, of a type increasingly rare in the Auckland region. Its broad aesthetic appeal derives from the distinctive nature and features of its lava flow areas, coastal position on the shores of the Manukau Harbour and pastoral farmland at the south and east. Encompassing a variety of visually contributory elements such as ‘stonefield’ features, drystone walls and well-preserved rural homesteads, it contrasts strongly with the place’s increasingly industrial setting. Its value is demonstrated through means that include acknowledgement of its aesthetic qualities in relevant literature, and widespread public support for community action to prevent modification of its visual appearance. Its aesthetic significance is enhanced by impressive views from the place towards the Manukau Heads, Te Motu ā Hiaroa and other landmarks.
Specific aesthetic value linked with several relatively ornate, early twentieth-century homesteads includes the quality and visual appeal of their well-preserved interiors - especially at Kintyre and the Rennie Homestead.
Archaeological Significance or Value
Ōtuataua Stonefields has high archaeological value for its ability to provide information about a wide variety of historical developments and activities in New Zealand’s past. These include pre-European Māori horticultural systems and associated settlement; shifts in Māori approaches to agricultural production in the 1840s-60s; and subsequent changes to the landscape brought about by direct European colonial control, including the establishment of small-scale mixed farmholdings and subsequent dairy farms.
Incorporating the largest remaining network of horticultural and related features on the Tāmaki isthmus, Ōtuataua Stonefields is particularly important for its capacity to yield evidence about the spatial organisation and sequential chronology of gardening systems, and their relationships with associated activities. The latter include other forms of resource-gathering, habitation (including in kāinga and pā), tool production or reworking, and care for ancestral remains. The place contains rare potential to examine changes in later Māori approaches to agricultural production following European contact, linked with the introduction of new cultigens, animals, equipment and markets. These shifts may be manifested by different field boundaries, stone clearance regimes, choice of land to cultivate and overall settlement patterning.
The place is also archaeologically significant for its post-1866 remnants, which include the standing Somerville Farmhouse; several well-preserved farmstead sites; and an extensive network of drystone boundary walls. Collectively these present a rare opportunity to gain greater knowledge about an early colonial rural neighbourhood, particularly in the Auckland region. Their importance is enhanced by the similar survival of an immediately subsequent dairying landscape containing several standing homesteads and associated infrastructure. Collectively, these enable many important stages in New Zealand’s horticultural and farming development to be examined within the same landscape.
Architectural Significance or Value
The place has architectural significance for containing a well-preserved group of early twentieth-century homesteads that were once typical of the South Auckland landscape, but which are now increasingly rare in a pastoral setting. Incorporating both transitional villa and California bungalow styles, they reflect the extent to which types of domestic architecture used in suburban environments were also applied to rural farmhouses. Their generally well-appointed and ornate nature - including interiors - directly reflects the impact of prosperity brought about by dairying to architectural expression within the South Auckland farming community. The significance of this development is increased by the survival of a much smaller and simpler farmhouse - re-used from the early 1900s as a washhouse - which demonstrates earlier approaches to domestic architecture in the farming neighbourhood before the advent of dairying wealth. Collectively, these buildings demonstrate the development of domestic architectural style between the mid- to late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries within a colonial farming landscape.
Scientific Significance or Value
The place has scientific significance for its capacity to provide information about the development of Māori horticulture and related settlement through the use of applied scientific techniques, including radiocarbon dating and plant microfossil analysis. The spatial extent and complexity of archaeological features within the place make the use of such techniques especially valuable.
Technological Significance or Value
Ōtuataua Stonefields has technological significance for the extent to which it demonstrates important developments in creating and managing intensive food production within a mātauranga Māori context. These include the adoption of extensive stone clearance and land division, stone mounds for kūmara or gourd production, and storage pits - the latter considered an innovation undertaken by ancestral Māori communities subsequent to arrival in Aotearoa New Zealand. In combination, such developments particularly reflect important and once-widespread approaches to the intensification of food production on the Tāmaki isthmus, believed to have accommodated the largest population in Aotearoa New Zealand in the centuries before European arrival.
The technological significance of the place is enhanced by it retaining extensive, well-preserved or unusual examples of later, European features using stone materials to assist food production and management, including introduced drystone wall technology - once a widespread and distinctive feature of Auckland’s colonial field systems - and stone drains said to have been based on Scottish prototypes. The latter are considered to represent a rare type of early European drainage not commonly recorded in New Zealand.
Cultural Significance or Value
The place has cultural significance for the extent of its direct expression of Māori tikanga and cultural values over a very extensive period of time. Expressions of tikanga include past methods of horticultural activity and care of ancestral remains. The place’s cultural importance is enhanced by its direct connections with a wider Māori cultural landscape of significance. The latter includes the adjoining papakāinga at Puketāpapa - which has been referred to as the region’s oldest and largest Māori community located within its ancestral landscape.
Social Significance or Value
Ōtuataua Stonefields has strong significance linked with identity and belonging, particularly to tangata whenua. It has an almost unbroken connection with Māori communities from an early stage in New Zealand’s human past to the present day. It forms an important part of the identity of local peoples, including inhabitants of the present adjoining papakāinga at Puketāpapa. Te Puketāpapatanga ā Hape, within the Ōtuataua Stonefields, is the ancestral feature after which the settlement is traditionally named.
Members of the local community have demonstrated the importance of the area to their identity over an extended period, through involvement in Waitangi Tribunal hearings, court cases and, more recently, direct action. The latter has been supported by a large number of people from different cultural backgrounds, and expressed through a wide variety of means. The broader social value of the place is enhanced by a large proportion of it being under public ownership and accessible to visitation and appreciation as a historic reserve.
The place forms part of a wider area that has traditionally been, and remains, important as a pou rangatira - a major gathering place where hui are held and issues discussed.
Spiritual Significance or Value
Ōtuataua Stonefields has strong spiritual significance to tangata whenua. It encompasses a landscape of ceremony, ritual and communion using natural components and resources as a conduit to religious deities. It incorporates a considerable number of features considered to be wāhi tapu. These include sacred maunga, springs and caves. The latter and other locations within the Ōtuataua Stonefields are associated with the deposition of ancestral kōiwi.
The place has very high spiritual significance as an ancestral landscape, containing many features linked with notable ancestors.
The spiritual significance of the place is enhanced by its connections with Mataoho, and especially as part of Te Riri ō Mataoho - which include its maunga, lava flows and volcanic soils. Ōtuataua maunga is also associated with Atua Taua, god of war parties.
Traditional Significance or Value
Ōtuataua Stonefields has high significance to tangata whenua for its traditional meaning and the ongoing practice of traditional activities on the land. It has specific links with traditional narratives relating to notable ancestors and ancestral groups, including Hape and the Tainui waka. The traditional significance of the place is increased by the survival of well-preserved network of horticultural and other features connected with traditional systems of use, which have ongoing meaning to tangata whenua as taonga. Traditional activity that has been and continues to be undertaken on the whenua is multiple and varied, but includes the collection of springwater for ceremonial and healing purposes; burial of afterbirth; performance of karakia; and gathering of food resources such as watercress.
It is considered that this place qualifies as a Category 1 historic place. It was assessed against, and found to qualify under the following criteria: a, b, c, d, e, f, g, h, i, j and k.
(a)The extent to which the place reflects important or representative aspects of New Zealand history
Ōtuataua Stonefields has outstanding significance for the extent to which it reflects the historical connections of Māori communities with the land or whenua in New Zealand over many centuries. This is directly represented through many ancestral and spiritual features; a major gardening and settlement landscape from perhaps at least the fifteenth or sixteenth centuries onwards; and other expressions of tikanga on the land. It particularly reflects the arrival of early peoples through wāhi tapu such as Te Puketāpapatanga ā Hape and associated sacred springs; occupation of the land over many centuries for intensive horticultural and related activity, including during the 1840s-60s; and subsequent connection through use of the land for the burial of afterbirth and other purposes. The history of connection is ongoing, encompassing Maori communities that include the immediately adjoining papakāinga at Puketāpapa (or Ihumātao village).
The place also has outstanding importance for the extent to which it demonstrates the development of horticulture, agriculture and farming from an early period in New Zealand’s history to the very recent past. It reflects several important shifts in use of the land for food production, including intensification of horticulture by ancestral Māori; likely changes to practice by Māori communities to incorporate new plants, animals and techniques following contact with Europeans in the 1840s to 1860s; the subsequent establishment of separate European smallholdings linked with mixed farming; and the adoption of dairying by rural communities from the late nineteenth-century onwards.
Food production has been an essential component of New Zealand’s past history, and continues to form a dominant part of the country’s economy. The activities represented by the above are manifested in many different forms within the place, including through the survival of unusually extensive and well-preserved stonefield features and related elements; possible remnants linked with the 1840s-60s, considered to form part of the ‘golden age of Māori enterprise’; and a wide and inter-related network of farmstead sites, homesteads, boundaries, plantings and farm infrastructure.
The place also reflects changing attitudes to cultural heritage in New Zealand society in the twentieth century and early twenty-first centuries, with destruction from quarrying and other activities replaced by increasing awareness of the value of New Zealand’s traditional, historical and archaeological landscapes. This is exemplified by public purchase of much of the land as a historic reserve in 1999 and 2001, and later public action to protest redevelopment of other adjoining ground within the place.
(b) The association of the place with events, persons, or ideas of importance in New Zealand history
Ōtuataua Stonefields has special or outstanding significance for its connection with the arrival of early peoples in Aotearoa New Zealand, including the ancestor Hape and the Tainui waka. It is also important for its associations with the foundation of Kīngitanga - an important cultural and political movement in New Zealand with enduring connections to the place. It is especially linked with the selection of Kīngitanga first leader, Pōtatau Te Wherowhero, a major figure in this country’s history. A large hui attended by Pōtatau Te Wherowhero and other rangatira in 1857 to discuss these matters ended at Ōtekiore, in the Ōtuataua Stonefields. This was one of a series of major gatherings in the Waikato and adjoining areas to seek support for Kīngitanga creation.
Ōtuataua Stonefields also has high significance for its close associations with the Waikato War (1863-4) and subsequent raupatu or confiscation of land (1864). Both were major events in New Zealand’s colonial history, with lasting impacts on relationships between Māori and the Crown. The displacement of Māori communities from the Ihumātao Peninsula including Ōtuataua Stonefields formed an immediate and traumatic effect of the outbreak of war. Prior to its confiscation, the Ihumātao Peninsula was one of the largest areas of land in the vicinity of Auckland to remain Māori-owned. In 1863-4, the land was briefly used by Waikato settlers also relocated by the outbreak of war, and then by a prominent local farmer Henry Vercoe, brother-in-law to the Defence Minister Thomas Russell.
Ōtuataua Stonefields is also significant for its close connections with several later individuals of note in the history of Auckland’s dairying industry. These include T.M. Rennie, Hugh Wallace, John (Jock) Montgomerie and K.K. Montgomerie, who all occupied surviving homesteads and farmed land at Ōtuataua Stonefields at a time when the South Māngere - Ihumātao area was a major regional milk-production centre. The first three of these individuals were involved in establishing and directing Auckland’s first dairy cooperative, the Auckland Milk Company - reflecting wider moves whereby farmers took control of the milk industry. Both Jock and K.K. Montgomerie were active in attempts to reform the Auckland milk business.
The place also has significance for its associations with early experimentation on a ryegrass ecotype, subsequently developed into Grasslands Nui and Ellett ryegrass. These became New Zealand’s most widely used perennial ryegrass varieties, and had a major impact on the profitability of dairying at a national level.
(c) The potential of the place to provide knowledge of New Zealand history
Ōtuataua Stonefields has outstanding potential to provide knowledge of New Zealand history through archaeological and other examination of its well-preserved, extensive and complex physical remains. It particularly has outstanding capacity to provide knowledge about a variety of issues linked with the development of horticultural systems and associated activity by ancestral Māori through archaeological approaches such as systematic modern survey of visible remnants, excavation and scientific analysis. These can provide greater understanding about the intensification of horticulture and associated settlement on the Tāmaki isthmus – an issue of considerable significance in New Zealand’s past.
The potential of the place is enhanced by its rare ability to provide an understanding of sequential horticultural and agricultural activity on the same land through many periods of New Zealand’s past, including during documented Māori activity in the 1840-60s, subsequent European mixed farming and the introduction of dairying. Archaeological potential extends to the investigation of standing buildings and structures, including homesteads, drystone walls and other farming infrastructure. These potentially increase the types of research questions that can be addressed. Particularly during these latter periods, potential is enhanced by the wealth of documentary information available, which can allow more nuanced understandings to be gained about historical development and meaning.
(d) The importance of the place to tangata whenua
Ōtuataua Stonefields has outstanding importance to tangata whenua for the strength of its connections with ancestral peoples, spiritual meaning and traditional activities - which in many cases are ongoing. Its value includes the extent to which the land or whenua reflects expressions of both tikanga and mātauranga Māori. The place has particular significance for tangata whenua based at Puketāpapa papakāinga, but also has important connections with wider Māori communities in Tāmaki Makaurau and the Waikato, including those adhering to Kīngitanga. It forms an important part of a wider landscape of significance to tangata whenua, including as a major meeting place or pou rangatira.
(e) The community association with, or public esteem for the place
Ōtuataua Stonefields has outstanding community association and public esteem, as demonstrated by the creation of a historic reserve following a campaign by members of the archaeological community and others to preserve its remains; and by extensive recent public action opposing redevelopment of other land within the place. In addition to the place’s particular association with tangata whenua, wide public esteem is evidenced by the level of support for the latter campaign from New Zealanders of varying cultural backgrounds.
(f) The potential of the place for public education
Ōtuataua Stonefields has outstanding potential for public education. Located close to Auckland International Airport, within New Zealand’s largest city and largely under public ownership, it has particular value for its ability to provide education about the continuous history of Māori settlement in Aotearoa New Zealand from an early stage in this country’s human past to the present; the sometimes complex narratives of inter-Māori and Māori-Pākehā relationships during this period; and an unusually wide range of stages in New Zealand’s horticultural and agricultural development. Its potential is heightened by the quality and variety of physical remnants within Ōtuataua Stonefields; the quantity and other wealth of oral and documentary information relating to its history; the presence of an associated community with strong connections to the place; and the site’s aesthetic nature.
Ōtuataua Stonefields also has potential to provide public education about the variety of perspectives that can be applied to the meaning and understanding of places of historical and cultural value.
(g) The technical accomplishment, value, or design of the place
The place has outstanding technical value for the extent to which it preserves a network or networks of horticultural features, created to manage intensive food production within a mātauranga Māori context in the centuries before European arrival. The technical importance of these features has been widely acclaimed, both by relevant experts and the community at large. The technical value of the place is enhanced by it additionally encompassing features that potentially reflect innovations connected with new approaches to agriculture adopted by Māori communities in the 1840s to 1860s, as well as widespread and well-preserved components of technical importance linked with early European farming such as basalt drains and a network or networks of drystone walls.
(h) The symbolic or commemorative value of the place
The place has outstanding significance as a symbol for social justice issues and especially struggles relating to control over land - a matter of special importance in the history of Aotearoa New Zealand. The symbolic importance of the place stems from the strength of its associations with events and key personages connected with Kīngitanga in the late 1850s; the displacement of peoples at the outbreak of the Waikato War and subsequent confiscation of land, or raupatu, in the 1860s; and large-scale community protest in the early twenty-first century. The place has symbolic importance for a wide range of groups and individuals in Aotearoa New Zealand and overseas, but is of particular symbolic value for Māori communities. It retains strong ongoing symbolic significance for Kīngitanga, with King Tūheitia raising the Kīngitanga flag on the whenua during widespread public protest about proposed redevelopment of the land in 2019.
(i) The importance of identifying historic places known to date from an early period of New Zealand settlement
The place has outstanding significance for its associations with a number of early periods of New Zealand settlement, including initial human settlement at the time of the arrival of the Tainui waka in the fourteenth century; occupation connected with the emergence of intensive gardening in Aotearoa New Zealand by the fifteenth or sixteenth century; activity linked with early prolonged contact with European peoples after the signing of Te Tiriti ō Waitangi / The Treaty of Waitangi (1840); and early European settlement linked with colonial farming of the Auckland isthmus, including during and immediately after the Waikato War (1863-4). Parts of the place that respectively relate to these periods include Te Puketāpapatanga ā Hape and associated springs; extensive stonefield and other associated features; elements that have been interpreted as linked with ongoing Māori agricultural activity in the 1840s-60s; and a series of farmstead sites, drystone wall boundaries and other elements - including the former Somerville Farmstead - connected with the creation and use of early European farms.
Ōtuataua Stonefields is believed to be a very rare example of a place with strong associations to all four of these early periods.
(j) The importance of identifying rare types of historic places
Ōtuataua Stonefields has outstanding significance for incorporating a rare surviving example of a very large and complex stonefield system in New Zealand. It is particularly uncommon as one that encompasses almost all of a volcanic field. It is one of only two large-scale remaining stonefield complexes left on the Tamaki isthmus - in which such remnants are believed to have once been widespread. It is of very considerable rarity as a large-scale survival within a currently urban context. Volcanic stonefield systems are important for their reflection of an intensification of horticulture and associated settlement at a stage subsequent to ancestral Māori arrival in Aotearoa New Zealand.
Ōtuataua Stonefields also encompasses a relatively rare known example of a place that contains likely evidence linked with changing Māori agricultural practice in New Zealand in the 1840s-60s, which may have influenced the layout of the subsequent colonial landscape. It also contains the well-preserved remnants of an early European rural neighbourhood that is likely to be rare within a regional context.
Ōtuataua Stonefields has particular importance as a very rare example of a place that reflects significant use during all these periods.
(k) The extent to which the place forms part of a wider historical and cultural area
Ōtuataua Stonefields has outstanding significance as an integral and important part of a wider area within the Tāmaki isthmus included in New Zealand’s Tentative List for World Heritage status - the Auckland Volcanic Fields. Referred to as ‘the remarkable Otuataua stonefield gardens complex’, it forms the largest single component of the Tentative List proposal. The place is also significant as part of a wider surviving area of spiritual and cultural importance on the isthmus connected with Mataoho - god of volcanoes and earthquakes - and particularly Te Riri ō Mataoho. The Māngere and Ihumātao areas can be considered as especially important, respectively representing the forehead and nose of Mataoho - the head traditionally being the most tapu part of the body.
The place also has special value as a key part of a notable surviving cultural and historical area in the immediate Ihumātao Peninsula and Te Motu ā Hiaroa area - which bears evidence of human activity over many centuries since early arrival in Aotearoa New Zealand. This has strong traditional and spiritual importance, including for its links with the Tainui waka and many generations of ancestral occupation - enduring to the present by settlement at the adjoining Puketāpapa papakāinga, emphasising the strength of connection and continuity of Māori settlement within the landscape. Tangata whenua perspectives encompass a consideration that the broader landscape, including Te Motu ā Hiaroa, Ōruarangi, Waitomokia and Maungataketake is significant for its spiritual, cultural and visual landscape values, and is of high importance as a wāhi tūpuna. The broader area also has major historical and archaeological value, encompassing remnants of stonefield systems around the surviving base of Maungataketake; a kāinga and Wesleyan Mission Station site to the northwest of Maungataketake; and surviving structures and sites connected with colonial farming enterprise.
The importance of Ōtuataua Stonefields is enhanced by its visual interconnections with notable elements within the surrounding historical and cultural area, including Te Motu ā Hiaroa and other significant parts of the ancestral landscape.
Summary of Significance or Value
Ōtuataua Stonefields merits Category 1 historic place status, having special or outstanding significance or value for:
- its importance to tangata whenua for the strength of its connections with ancestral peoples, spiritual meaning and traditional activities - which in many cases are ongoing;
- the extent to which it reflects the historical connections of Māori communities with the land or whenua in New Zealand over many centuries;
- the strength of its connections with the arrival of early peoples in Aotearoa New Zealand, including the ancestor Hape and the Tainui waka; and other important ancestral figures and events, including those linked with the establishment of Kīngitanga;
- the extent to which it demonstrates the development of horticulture, agriculture and farming from an early period in New Zealand’s history to the very recent past;
- its incorporation of a rare surviving example of a very large and complex stonefield system - of very great technical and other importance - reflecting intensive horticulture in New Zealand, and of very considerable rarity in an urban context;
- its potential to provide further knowledge of New Zealand history, including horticulture, agriculture and farming, through archaeological and other examination of its well-preserved, extensive and complex physical remains;
- its potential for public education about issues that include the continuous history of Māori settlement in Aotearoa New Zealand from an early stage in this country’s human past to the present; the sometimes complex narratives of inter-Māori and Māori-Pākehā relationships during this period; and an unusually wide range of stages in New Zealand’s horticultural and agricultural development;
- its community association and public esteem, as demonstrated by the creation of a historic reserve following a campaign by members of the archaeological community and others to preserve its remains; and by extensive recent public action opposing redevelopment of other land within the place;
- its importance as a symbol for social justice issues, and especially struggles relating to control over land; and
- its significance as an integral and important part of a wider area within the Tāmaki isthmus that is included in New Zealand’s Tentative List for World Heritage status - the Auckland Volcanic Fields; and as part of an immediate historical and cultural area of high traditional, historical and archaeological value.
The history of Ōtuataua Stonefields is lengthy and complex, extending from early human exploration and settlement of Aotearoa New Zealand to recent activism and protest. The following narrative draws on traditional, archaeological and historical sources in the public domain to outline major known developments, which include arrival of the ancestor Hape and the Tainui waka; horticultural and related settlement over many subsequent centuries; evolving methods of agriculture by Māori communities and involvement with the formation of the Kīngitanga movement in the 1840s to 1860s; raupatu or land confiscation, the creation of early European mixed farms and the return of Māori communities; and subsequent evolution of dairy farms and growth of support for preservation of the land.
The main purpose of this narrative is to inform assessment under the Heritage New Zealand Pouhere Act 2014. Tangata whenua have their own histories and narratives for the subject area, some of which may not be publicly available for a number of valid reasons. As such, the account in this report should not be considered the only or single definitive history of the area. Tangata whenua histories and narratives of this area may encompass a wider range of values and considerations than those contained within this report.
The history of Ōtuataua Stonefields in the northern part of the Ihumātao Peninsula is closely connected with the area’s geological origins. The site lies within an extensive volcanic field centred on the Tāmaki or Auckland isthmus, which has erupted intermittently over the last 250,000 years. Activity from two volcanoes within the current site, Ōtuataua and Te Puketāpapatanga ā Hape (or Pukeiti), created substantial lava fields between their craters and the current shores of the Manukau Harbour. Ash associated with a separate flow from a third crater in the southern part of the Peninsula at Maungataketake (Ellett’s Mountain), sealed the contemporary remnants of a podocarp and broadleaf forest, part of the fossilised remains of which survive. These craters, lava fields and other features created a visually and otherwise distinctive landscape that was overlain by highly fertile, volcanic soils.
The area’s productive soils and warm temperate climate made it desirable for settlement and horticultural activity after first human arrival in Aotearoa New Zealand - currently estimated as occurring in the late thirteenth century. Aotearoa New Zealand is significant as the last major habitable land mass in the world to be discovered and settled by human beings. Early Polynesian settlers are likely to have been familiar with volcanic landforms and the value of related soils from their homelands, and brought with them ‘long-established traditions and techniques for growing food crops.’ Opportunities for obtaining kai moana and other resources were also available due to the site’s location beside the Manukau Harbour, Ōruarangi Creek and a freshwater lagoon to the southwest of Ōtuataua maunga. Gardening in Aotearoa New Zealand generally formed part of a mixed economy that also involved gathering and fishing.
Traditional history to the early 1800s
Ancestral Māori recognised the area’s volcanic origins and resource opportunities, and incorporated this into their cosmological understanding of the world and its creation. Land to the south of the site was named Te Ihu ō Mataoho (the nose of Mataoho), after the deity Mataoho - god of volcanoes and earthquakes; while a few kilometres to the north, the maunga at Māngere was called Te Pane ō Mataoho (the sacred head of Mataoho). Within Māori custom the head is the most sacred part of the body, and life force or mauri is breathed through the nose, indicating the spiritual and other importance of the area. It forms part of a wider interconnected landscape within the Tāmaki isthmus that relates to Mataoho. Collectively, Auckland’s volcanoes are sometimes referred to as Ngā Tapuwae ō Mataoho (the footprints of Mataoho), and associated features such as lava flow and volcanic soils recognised as the result of Te Riri ō Mataoho (the wrath of Mataoho).
Another tradition links creation of the volcanic landscape with supernatural beings known as patupaiarehe and tūrehu, who resided in the Hūnua and Waitakere ranges. Te Kawerau a Maki accounts refer to tūrehu or ‘people from the earth’ as among the earliest occupants of Tāmaki, who were supplanted by a group known as Tini ō Maruiwi. Peoples linked with Toi Kai Rākau or Toi Te Huatahi subsequently arrived and intermarried with Tini ō Maruiwi, resulting in the first creation of a papakāinga at Puketāpapa according to this tradition - although the wider Ihumātao area is said to have been occupied for many generations. Puketāpapa has been especially associated with the northern half of the Peninsula, in which most of the Ōtuataua Stonefields site lies, while Te Ihu ō Mataoho or Ihumātao is more closely linked with land in its southern part.
In the fourteenth century, the Tainui waka stopped at the Peninsula after crossing the nearby Ōtahuhu portage, which connects the east and west coasts of Aotearoa New Zealand, anchoring close to the mouth of the Ōruarangi Creek at Te Punga ō Tainui (the anchor stone of Tainui). According to a Te Waiōhua tradition, the waka was spotted and greeted by an ancestor, Hape, from the top of Te Puketāpapatanga ā Hape (Hape’s resting place). Hape had been refused permission to board the waka in Hawaīki due to having deformed feet, but after praying to Tangaroa, god of the seas, was transported to Ihumātao on the back of a stingray, Kaiwhare - a taniwha and guardian of the Manukau - who gave his name to the channel in which the waka subsequently anchored (Te Tārai ō Kaiwhare). After the Tainui canoe had landed and acknowledged Hape’s mana, a small number of its crew remained. Another name for Te Puketāpapatanga ā Hape is Rakataura, after the Tainui tohunga Rakataura, who left the waka at Tāmaki. Some accounts consider Rakataura and Hape to be the same individual. Sacred springs at the base of the hill are known as Te Punarere ā Hape, and another spring on the northern fringe of the lava field is referred to as Te Puna Wai ā Hape.
Descendants of the Tainui waka and local people became known under the general name Ngā Oho - a group later possibly referred to under several names including Ngā Iwi. A particular grouping of Ngā Oho, Ngāti Poutūkeka, is said to have occupied the area for several centuries. Perhaps in the seventeenth century, a descendant of the notable Ngāti Poutūkeka rangatira Whatutūroto, Huakaiwaka of Ngā Iwi, united various groups in the region into a formidable force - subsequently known as Te Waiōhua - which held much of the Tāmaki area, including the Ihumātao Peninsula. During this period, Te Rangikaimata of Te Waiōhua is said to have held Ōtuataua pā (also sometimes referred to as Moerangi) within the current site. This settlement was reportedly still occupied in the 1700s when its inhabitants were called on by Te Waiōhua ariki Kiwi Tāmaki to fight at Te Whau, where he was killed by Te Taoū hapū of Ngāti Whātua. The nearby maunga at Maungataketake was probably also inhabited until this time.
After withdrawing southwards, Te Waiōhua may have returned to the Peninsula by the late eighteenth century, when the future Te Taoū rangatira, Āpihai Te Kawau, was born at the Ihumātao kāinga of his Te Waiōhua mother, Mokorua - helping to seal peace between the two groups. Prior to temporary abandonment of the Tāmaki isthmus during the Ngāpuhi raids of the 1820s and early 1830s, the Peninsula was occupied by Te Haupa, Heihei and possibly Awarua. In 1866, Eruera Te Paerimu also stated that his father Te Paerimu had cultivated land at Puketāpapa before leaving in 1825. Their displacement during this period marked a brief hiatus before an era began that was more directly influenced by contact with European peoples.
Archaeological history to the early 1800s
Extensive physical evidence exists that the Ōtuataua Stonefields landscape was used for gardening and other activities in the centuries before European arrival. The site can be considered to reflect the adaptation of Polynesian cultivation approaches to a particularly favourable New Zealand environment and, potentially, changes to these approaches as circumstances changed and Māori society evolved. On first arrival, ancestral Māori faced significant challenges adapting cultigens derived from a warmer, tropical climate to the more temperate conditions and restricted seasonal range that prevailed in New Zealand. As archaeologist Louise Furey has noted:
"The successful introduction of Polynesian root crops to New Zealand not only required skills in plant husbandry, but also modification of the garden environment to improve conditions for plant growth and maturation. These modifications included the addition of gravel and sand to soil, mulching, fences and windbreaks, and possibly stone rows, to provide shelter for the growing plants, heaped soil and stone for warmer ground temperatures, and mechanisms for storage of kumara tubers once harvested. Over time, there may have been some selection for varieties that were more tolerant of cooler growing conditions or that were faster maturing."
The requirements of Māori society are also likely to have changed as populations moved and expanded, and different forms of social organisation developed. Prior to European arrival, the Tāmaki isthmus is believed to have supported one of the densest areas of settlement in Aotearoa New Zealand.
Known archaeological features within the Ōtuataua Stonefields site include a variety of visible elements, including stone rows, heaps, mounds and enclosures connected with gardens in a lava field of some 100 hectares. They reflect a distinctive feature of Māori horticulture in the Auckland region, which involved ‘the use of stone on the basaltic lava fields surrounding the volcanic cones to construct rows, alignments, mounds, heaps and stone-faced terraces within and around the gardens.’ It has been estimated that several thousand hectares of this distinctive activity may once have existed across Auckland, representing ‘the largest, densest and most complex area of Maori stone construction in Northern New Zealand’. The full extent of gardening on volcanic land in the region may have been even larger, with fertile tuff and loam soils adjoining the lava flows being easier to cultivate.
In addition to visible stone features, the Ōtuataua Stonefields site contains a variety of other physical elements including earthworks, midden, rua (crop storage pits), whare (house) floors, ara (tracks) and burials. These present a complex and as yet imperfectly understood archaeological landscape connected with a great range of activities besides gardening, including habitation, food preparation and storage, resource-gathering, trade and exchange, and care of the dead.
The earliest archaeological occupation within the site is unclear. Moa bone, symptomatic of early human activity, has been reported in the lowermost occupation levels at nearby Maungataketake, associated with other bird remains from forest environments. Limited scientific dating evidence from the Tāmaki isthmus suggests that subdivision of the land through the creation of stone walls and related features may have begun by the 1400s or 1500s. Of two published radiocarbon dates from the Ōtuataua Stonefields site, the earliest - from shell midden associated with a stone foundation interpreted as an inland whare or house - was probably from the fifteenth or sixteenth century. Midden nearer the shore was radiocarbon-dated to probably the sixteenth or seventeenth century.
Differing archaeological theories exist about how horticulture and settlement may have developed within the site. One suggestion is that initial habitation may have occurred around springs on the edges of the lava fields, where water- and forest-based resources as well as gardens on the volcanic soils could be exploited with a minimum of effort. Gardening may then have gradually increased as pre-existing forest cover on the lava fields was removed and as technical expertise and innovation advanced. An alternative proposal is that horticultural activity began on the side of volcanic cones and gradually spread to the lava fields and, later, adjacent stone-free soils.
At some point, pā defined by terraced earthworks rather than the more usual banked and ditched arrangements were created on the cones at Ōtuataua and Te Puketāpapatanga ā Hape. Fortified enclosures on the Tāmaki isthmus and elsewhere are generally considered to have been created in the latter part of pre-European Māori occupation as a response to population increase and competition over resources, and may also signal shifts in social organisation, identity or other focus. Auckland’s many volcanic pā formed a distinctive component of the regional landscape. As exemplified at the Ōtuataua Stonefields, they were closely associated with surrounding cultivation networks, collectively forming a ‘vast settlement-agricultural system’ on the isthmus.
In themselves, the Tāmaki gardens can be seen as an especially widespread expression of intensive horticultural activity in a New Zealand context, in which particularly large-scale production may have occurred. At the Ōtuataua Stonefields, these gardens may have assumed additional importance through their coastal location and strategic position in relation to major portages across the isthmus. The latter traditionally provided the Ihumātao Peninsula with status as an important pou rangatira or meeting place.
Current evidence at Ōtuataua Stonefields suggests that a continuous area between cone and coast was utilised, containing demarcated areas of gardening and occupation. Habitation sites have been primarily identified in association with raised and often irregular ground, while cultivation areas include adjacent, flatter land that has been cleared. Groups of house sites in some places may indicate the presence of kāinga or open village settlements. People not only lived and worked within the lava field landscape but were buried there. Evidence has been reported for a range of burial practices, including the placement of kōiwi in rock fissures and lava caves, and interment in pits, mounds, or pits and mounds. Of high cultural and spiritual importance to Māori communities, these activities involved a return of individuals to the earth mother Papatūānuku so that, as historian Lucy Mackintosh notes, ‘the past, present and future could continue to grow and bind together’.
The range of micro-environments in the vicinity may have meant that varied food production was possible. The main crop is likely to have been kūmara, which thrives in fertile, well-drained soils, and may have been particularly effectively grown on the lava fields due to heat retained by the underlying rock. It was the most widely planted Māori cultigen in Aotearoa New Zealand, and a much more significant food source than in most of tropical Polynesia. The production of kūmara had a strong social dimension, and became subject to numerous rituals and traditions. Kūmara cultigens have been identified at Ōtuataua Stonefields using plant microfossil analysis. Stone and earth mounds at the site may have been created for incubating kūmara, although their use for cultivating gourds has also been considered a strong possibility.
Some of the archaeological features at Ōtuataua Stonefields may directly reflect societal requirements. For instance, although stone rows, heaps and other elements could have been created primarily as a consequence of ground clearance, they may also relate to aspects of social organisation such as boundaries between or within activity by sub-hapū or whānau groups. At nearby Te Motu ā Hiaroa, or Puketūtū Island, stone walls and cultivations were named after particular ancestors or historical events, with individual stones indicating the boundary of each family’s unit being considered tapu. This reflects the importance of stonefield systems as ancestral landscapes, embodying ‘carefully arranged instantiations of ancestors and events which helped govern important modes of being…’. Together with other features in the locality they formed - and continue to form - ‘landscapes of memories’, helping to shape and reinforce the identities of associated communities.
Extensive midden within the Ōtuataua Stonefields provides considerable evidence of kai moana collection, including the exploitation of surface and subsurface species from inshore and creek mudflats, and mid-harbour species such as scallops. Tongues of lava flow extending into the harbour on the northern shore have been considered likely activity areas and access points connecting the elevated coastal margins and the sea. Numerous midden have been identified at the interface between the lava field and the tidal harbour and Ōruarangi Creek.
There is also increasing evidence for contemporary activity directly to the south and southeast of the lava flow, within the broader Ōtuataua Stonefields site. The latter contained a large freshwater lagoon and watercourses running parallel to the edges of the lava fields, which are likely to have provided resources unavailable on the lava flow itself - which has no streams. Areas of midden have especially been found on locally raised ground, including near the watercourses. One of these has been radiocarbon-dated to probably the sixteenth or seventeenth century, indicating that at least some of this land was in contemporary use with gardening systems on the lava flow. It has been observed that the stone remnants surviving on the main lava flows may more accurately represent the visible survival of archaeological material than the general nature or extent of Māori horticultural activity in the area.
Outside the site, former and current stone alignments and related features around remnants of the nearby pā at Maungataketake similarly reflect horticultural and other activity within a wider interconnected landscape. Successive occupation layers to the south of a ditched pā on the east bank of the Ōruarangi Creek (R11/575) have also been respectively radiocarbon-dated to the sixteenth or seventeenth and seventeenth or eighteenth centuries.
Adaptation to European arrival (1830s-1863) - the ‘golden age of Māori enterprise’
In the mid-1830s, local peoples returned to the Manukau Harbour under the protection of the Ngāti Mahuta leader Pōtatau Te Wherowhero. Cultivation on the Ihumātao Peninsula, at both Puketāpapa and Ihumātao, may have resumed. By this time, horticultural activity in the region included growing imported crops such as potato, maize and wheat, both for local use and for sale or exchange with incoming European traders and settlers. Capable of being grown on a wider range of soils and requiring different husbandry techniques, these new cultigens are considered to have revolutionised gardening in the region. Potatoes, for example, required greater labour and for longer periods than kūmara, but were also more bountiful. Their cultivation, and the husbandry of introduced livestock such as pigs, is likely to have particularly expanded after the advent of formal European colonisation in 1840, when nearby Auckland was chosen as the site of colonial New Zealand’s first permanent capital, and became a significant commercial entrepôt. By the mid-1850s, Māori cultivation of potato in the surrounding area may have exceeded that of kūmara.
As historian Hazel Petrie has noted, during the period of early European settlement, ‘there is considerable evidence that…Māori production formed the mainstay of the colonial economy and, in particular, of the largest population centre, Auckland.’ The extent and contribution of this agricultural and related activity is such that the period has been labelled ‘the golden age of Māori enterprise.’
Groups that took up the production of introduced cultigens included Ngāti Tamaoho under the leadership of Wiremu Wētere Te Kauwae and Epiha Putini Te Rangitāhua, who initially grew European crops and sought to build a wheat-grinding mill at Āwhitu, in the south Manukau, with help from their Wesleyan missionary contacts. In 1846, Ngāti Tamaoho and an associated hapū, Ngāti Rori (subsequently known as Te Ahiwaru), relocated to ancestral land on the Ihumātao Peninsula, partly due to conflict with other groups at Āwhitu but possibly also because of its proximity to the Auckland market. By the summer of 1846-7, they were engaged in land improvements such as digging ditches to drain highly fertile, swampy ground, probably around the edge of the lava fields, with the intention of cultivating ‘a large piece of ground’. Wētere subsequently provided land for a small Wesleyan mission station beside Ihumātao kāinga, consolidating access to European ideas and technology. A Māori-owned threshing mill processed wheat and oats that were extensively grown in the vicinity. Produce was exported to Onehunga, the main gateway on the Manukau Harbour for the Auckland market.
Settlement by Te Ahiwaru included the northern part of the Peninsula, at Puketāpapa, which encompassed over 400 acres (160 hectares). This area probably included most - if not all - of the Ōtuataua and Te Puketāpapatanga ā Hape lava flows and the lower-lying catchment of the Ōruarangi Creek to the east, which contained northward-flowing watercourses. Puketāpapa kāinga, beside the Ōruarangi Creek, became known as the largest Māori settlement in the district. In the early 1850s it appears to have included several buildings near the mouth of the creek at Ōtekiore. By 1855, a Māori Wesleyan chapel had also been erected to the south, a short distance east of the lava field. Other elements between the lava flow and creek included an urupā to the east of the chapel, and what may have been a relatively substantial building on the eastern slope of Te Puketāpapatanga ā Hape looking out towards the kāinga.
The kāinga was central to a large network of rectilinear fields extending between the east side of the Ōtuataua lava field and the Ōruarangi Creek, and also on the opposite (east) side of the creek towards Waitomokia maunga - the latter additionally occupied and cultivated by Ngāti Tamaoho and Te Ākitai in the early 1850s. These can be seen to represent agricultural activity on less stony and well-watered soils around the lava fields that were more suitable for European crops and livestock. A cluster of similar-sized fields on the western part of the lava flow may have been worked in association with settlement on the Ōtuataua lava flow or at Ihumātao. Other cultivations are said to have been centred on Te Tiki, immediately to the southeast of Maungataketake. In the mid-1860s, the greater portion of the Peninsula was considered to have been under prior cultivation.
The unusually large scale of these field systems is indicated by it being the most extensive Māori cultivation network depicted on an 1853 survey of the Manukau Harbour. Individual fields may have been delineated by physical boundaries: in the early 1860s, Māori settlements at both Puketāpapa and Ihumātao were among a number in the vicinity described as ‘securely fenced’. Documented evidence for the adoption of European technology and other introductions at Puketāpapa includes ownership of horse and plough, payment for goods with bushels of wheat, and the presence of at least one stockyard. A similar situation existed at Ihumātao, where the settlement’s assets in 1863 included potato and corn fields, a plough and harrow, and livestock that encompassed 200 pigs, three cows and six horses. Kūmara and potatoes were kept in separate storage pits. A large waka known as Taiaroa could also carry up to twelve tons of produce, presumably for the Auckland market.
Large-scale food production not only enabled an accumulation of wealth through sale or barter, but also facilitated displays of hospitality and mana in the form of hākari, or feasts - a tradition that increased in extravagance during the nineteenth century. At the tangi of Te Rangitāhua at Ihumātao in 1857, Ngāti Tamaoho provided 1800 baskets of potatoes and 6000 loaves of bread, as well as traditional foods for some thousand attendees. Another hui at Puketāpapa the following year included provisions for up to 700 guests, with a structure 140 yards long being erected for the occasion.
Both gatherings were connected with tensions arising from growing European encroachment on Māori land. Attended by the Ngāti Mahuta ariki Pōtatau Te Wherowhero and other rangatira, the Ihumātao meeting ended at Ōtekiore and formed one of a series of hui in the Waikato and elsewhere that led to the foundation of Kīngitanga - one of New Zealand’s most enduring political and cultural movements - and Te Wherowhero’s selection as its leader at Ngāruawāhia in 1858. The Puketāpapa meeting was also referred to as ‘a preliminary to the great Hui’ at Ngāruawāhia. In the years before the outbreak of the Waikato War in 1863, links between the Peninsula’s inhabitants and Kīngitanga remained close. A freshwater spring near the coast, known as Te Puna ā Pōtatau Te Wherowhero, commemorates its use by the Kīngitanga leader.
Land confiscation and early European settlement (1863-circa 1880s)
During the early 1860s, events occurred that were to have a major impact on Māori communities on the Peninsula and their responsibilities over ancestral lands. Until that time, the Ihumātao Peninsula remained one of the largest areas in the Tāmaki isthmus under Māori ownership - consciously retained for reasons that included its great economic and strategic importance. In 1863, however, the area was subject to traumatic events linked with the Waikato War (1863-4). The following year, the land was taken under raupatu, or confiscation by the Crown.
On 9 July 1863, the government required that local Māori swear an oath of allegiance to the Crown or be expelled from their lands. Bound by ties of kinship and loyalty to Kīngitanga, the Peninsula’s occupants sold their cattle and poultry under duress, and moved southwards. Government forces immediately launched an invasion of the Waikato, crossing the Mangatāwhiri Stream on 12 July. Possessions left behind by Māori were taken, damaged or otherwise lost, including farming equipment and church furniture. A military expedition to remove and destroy Māori waka retrieved several from Ōruarangi and Ihumātao. These events were to have a lasting impact on the Peninsula’s Māori community and their descendants.
Settlers soon requested the land for grazing livestock, including the cattle of European refugees from the Waikato to prevent the sale of these animals from flooding the Auckland market. The cattle and horses of such refugees were briefly granted pasturage on the land before, in early 1864, the Crown rented the whole Peninsula to Henry Vercoe, a Mangere farmer and brother-in-law to the Defence Minister, Thomas Russell. In May 1864, the colonial government formally confiscated the land on behalf of the Crown.
In May 1866, the Ihumātao Block - as the Peninsula became known - was surveyed and divided into large allotments with an interconnecting network of access roads. At this time, it was noted that the greater part had been cultivated but was now overgrown with fern. The boundaries of surveyed allotments immediately to the east of the Ōtuataua and Te Puketāpapatanga ā Hape lava fields shared a very similar orientation to those of the field systems indicated in the 1853 Pandora survey, suggesting that the former may have been influenced by the pre-existing land use arrangements. In particular, a surveyed northeast-southwest road reserve (now the Ōruarangi Road) was created in a very similar position to an earlier indicated boundary and additionally aligns with the earlier chapel and an inlet on the Ōruarangi Creek, which could suggest prior use as an access route for produce from the fields to the kāinga and waterfront. This would mirror a previous arrangement conceived by Ngāti Tamaoho in their prior agricultural settlement at Pehiakura. The network of pre-existing fields in the western part of the lava flow was also almost entirely encompassed within a single new allotment.
Smaller allotments occupying the cones at Ōtuataua and Te Puketāpapatanga ā Hape, as well as land to the south, were set aside for quarrying and water purposes. Apart from these areas and the site for a Māori township in the locality occupied by much of Puketāpapa kāinga, most land in the northern part of the Ihumātao Block was offered for sale in 1866-7.
European farms were almost immediately established, reflecting an important shift towards private land ownership, and full integration of the land into a competitive European economy. Their relatively modest size, particularly on the Ōtuataua and Te Puketāpapatanga ā Hape lava flow, was symptomatic of the general pattern of Pākehā agricultural landholdings in the Auckland region at this time, which were often based on grants of 40 or 50 acres.
Allotments on the lava fields were respectively purchased by Isaac Morris (Allotment 172: 62 acres), Janet Somerville (Allotment 173: 47 acres) and William Buchanan (Allotment 174: 52 acres). A larger holding incorporating deeper soils on the southern fringe of the lava field and further east (Allotments 163, 170-1, 177 and 179-80: 288 acres) was obtained by Samuel Fleming, an Onehunga merchant, who was soon exporting potatoes. Gavin Wallace, a recent migrant from Campbeltown, Scotland, similarly bought land on the eastern fringes of the lava flow (Allotments 175-6: 81 acres), which had been occupied by Māori agricultural systems in the 1850s. After 1868, Wallace may have had access to Buchanan’s land after it was transferred to his brother, James Wallace.
Most of the new enterprises were owner-occupied and initially engaged in mixed production, like many other colonial farms in the region. In the late 1860s, Gavin Wallace grew potatoes, kept cattle and possibly ran sheep. Wheat or barley may also have been produced at an early stage. When the Somerville family leased Allotment 174 from James Wallace in 1874, there were requirements for the land to be cultivated ‘in a good and husbandlike manner’ and also to be laid down with perennial grass and clovers. James Montgomerie, who created a 50-acre farm on Allotment 171 - partly on and partly off the lava flow - after Fleming’s large holding was broken up in 1875, initially produced grain and hay for the Auckland market as well as having milking cows for home consumption.
Related changes to the landscape included the hand clearance of stone and construction of long, straight drystone walls, a type of structure characteristic of the Auckland farmscape at this time. During this period, the priority was generally to erect walls along farm boundaries to keep other people’s stock out rather than to keep animals in. Farms extending onto the deeper soils off the lava flow engaged in ‘mending ditches’ - perhaps similarly to at least part of the 1850s Māori cultivation systems - and also introduced newer forms of drainage. Stone-filled drains created by Gavin Wallace are said to have been based on his experience on the estate of his former employer, the Duke of Argyll, in Scotland.
Small homesteads were constructed on most of the holdings. The initial Somerville homestead on Allotment 173 appears to have consisted of a basic, two-roomed cottage. Erected in the southwestern part of Allotment 175, the Wallace farmstead is said to have grown in stages from small beginnings in circa 1867, eventually consisting of a one-and-a-half storied timber building with associated structures such as stables and a hay shed. The residence of Isaac Morris and his wife Sarah on Allotment 172 was later described as a ‘plain wooden five-roomed cottage’, associated with a water pump, orchard, boxthorn hedges and associated pine and macrocarpa trees. After 1875, the Montgomerie family is believed to have occupied a dwelling in the middle of Allotment 171. These residences were collectively associated with farming the lava flow and its immediately connected land, and were themselves built on the lava fields - generally close to their edges.
Return of Māori communities to Puketāpapa, and land conversion for dairying (circa 1880s-early twentieth century)
Reflecting the strength and importance of ancestral ties to the land, from the 1870s members of Te Ahiwaru returned to Puketāpapa - to the site of the current papakāinga (now more generally known as ‘Ihumātao village’) immediately adjacent to the Ōtuataua Stonefields site. Initially re-settling on a small portion of land beside the Ōruarangi Creek, members of this community began to be employed as seasonal workers on surrounding farms, especially for silage- and hay-making. Following a petition on behalf of Te Ahiwaru, the Crown agreed in 1888 to set aside land on the site of the earlier Puketāpapa kāinga on Allotments 196 and 197. Formal title for just over 41 acres (16.6 hectares), however, was not obtained until 1915-16, by which time the settlement contained several buildings mostly concentrated near the Ōruarangi Creek, associated with plots of kūmara, potatoes and oats as well as grass paddocks. Creating good relations with their neighbours, Māori use of the surrounding farmland included collecting bracken for kūmara beds and gathering watercress.
As the papakāinga was becoming reestablished, further significant changes to the adjoining landscape took place. From the 1880s onwards, there was a major shift in farming practice towards dairying and to a lesser extent other stock, reflecting a nationwide expansion in the ‘protein trade’ brought about by refrigeration (from 1882) and tightening imperial links with Britain. Between the turn of the century and the 1960s, New Zealand has been referred to as ‘the Empire’s dairy farm’, and the widespread conversion of land to pasture an aspect of ‘imperialising the landscape’. Changes in the Ōtuataua area particularly demonstrate dairying’s emergence from an aspect of settler self-sufficiency to a major commercial enterprise - an activity that has remained pivotal within wider New Zealand society into the twenty-first century.
Local farmers were early suppliers to Ambury and English’s dairy factory at nearby Māngere Bridge, opened in 1882, whose activities included exporting butter to the British market. Ambury and English claimed that its Star brand came from ‘the best butter-producing district in the Province of Auckland’. The firm also dominated Auckland’s milk market. In 1888, it was said in relation to its output that ‘in the Mangere district there is a strong Scottish colony of farmers, who contribute largely, if not mainly, to the milk supply’.
New infrastructure on and around the Ōtuataua and Puketāpapatanga ā Hape lava flows included sub-dividing fields with stone walls; and erecting windmills, milking-sheds and other related structures. In 1905, improved access to the dairy processing facilities at Māngere was created by erecting a bridge over the Ōruarangi Creek, on the edge of the lava field, created from local stone. Direct quarrying of the volcanic cones at both Ōtuataua and Te Puketāpapatanga ā Hape may initially have been carried out in a limited manner by local farmers and, in part at least, undertaken for roading improvements. This activity demonstrates the extent to which the exploitation of natural resources for practical outcomes outweighed other values associated with these places at this time, as well as reflecting the more widespread reshaping of the landscape that was occurring.
Many of the farms were enlarged to include land both on and off the lava flow, allowing all-year grazing. In 1890, Gavin Wallace’s property was expanded to include Allotment 174; a decade or so later Herbert Ellett, who owned a very large holding further west at Maungataketake, obtained Allotment 170; and the Somerville and Morris allotments (173 and 172) were also successively taken over by neighbour Thomas Morton Rennie, who had obtained the adjacent Allotment 177 in 1904 and also leased Allotment 177A - collectively creating the main landholding on the lava field area.
In contrast to the first generation European farmsteads, new and larger homesteads reflecting the increased wealth brought by dairying were erected just outside the lava field, on sites closer to the main road network - possibly to assist milk collection. These included the spacious Montgomerie and Rennie homesteads on Allotments 171 and 177 respectively, at around the turn of the century, and the Wallace homestead (Kintyre) on Allotment 176 in the 1920s. With residence on the lava field now considered unnecessary, at least two of the early dwellings were physically relocated to the Rennie farmstead, the Somerville cottage being re-used as a washhouse for the main homestead and the Morris house being employed as a farmworker’s cottage in an adjoining field.
The ornate nature of these new residences can be seen not only to reflect greater wealth, but also perhaps the growing social stature and connections of their owners. Christina Paul, the daughter of an immediately neighbouring farmer Walter Paul, had some time earlier married William Massey, who became Prime Minister in 1912. In 1913, several of the area’s landowners - including Paul’s son W.N. Paul and others who farmed land on and adjoining the lava fields such as T.M. Rennie, John (Jock) Montgomerie, Hugh Wallace and Herbert and Ernest Ellett, became founding shareholders of the Auckland Farmers Co-operative Milk Supply Company (later the Auckland Milk Company (AMC)), Auckland’s first co-operative dairy venture. Co-operative companies formed an important means by which farmers could pool resources and take control of the dairy industry - an approach that occurred widely in New Zealand.
Rennie, Wallace and Paul subsequently served as long-term directors of the AMC. Jock Montgomerie also became prominent as a director and then chairman of the co-operative in the late 1920s, before serving as a representative of the Auckland Wholemilk Producers’ Association, and then on the Auckland Metropolitan Milk Council (1935-7). His son, K.K. Montgomerie, who inherited the family farm on Allotment 171 in 1952, was similarly active in attempts to reform the Auckland milk industry. In part, the prominence of local farmers reflects the South Māngere-Ihumātao district’s importance as one of the region’s top producing town milk supply areas during the first half of the twentieth century.
Recent history (mid-twentieth century onwards)
In contrast with this growing prosperity, conditions for the Māori community at Puketāpapa were often difficult. During the economic depression of the 1930s and subsequently, some inhabitants were employed at nearby Chinese market gardens. In the late 1950s and early 1960s, the settlement expanded. Loans by the Department of Māori Affairs enabled construction of a number of new semi-detached homes at Puketāpapa, which by 1961 had increased to nearly 200 people. Reflecting the area’s pou rangatira status, Waitangi Tribunal hearings were held at Puketāpapa in 1984, at which local kaumātua and others from around the region expressed their views on matters relating to the Manukau, including despoilation of the Harbour and the loss of associated lands. The papakāinga remains owned by descendants of the area’s pre-confiscation inhabitants, and represents centuries-long Māori occupation of and association with the land, extending into the present.
Within the wider community, a growing appreciation of the distinctive values of the Ōtuataua Stonefields slowly developed. Perhaps as a result of an increasing emphasis on pasture, the area became popular for rural pursuits such as hare-coursing by the Pakuranga Hunt and bird-shooting, and also outdoor recreational activities such as camping. A small number of baches created from imported car crates were erected close to the shore. Before the Second World War (1939-45), concern began to be expressed about the destruction of volcanic cones through systematic quarrying, including on the Ihumātao Peninsula, and the first archaeological survey of the lava field area occurred in the 1930s. Both at this time and during the Second World War (1939-45), rough terrain on the lava flow was used for military exercises.
In the 1950s and 1960s, the wider area’s importance in relation to agricultural history was reinforced by the activities of Trevor Ellett who developed a new ecotype of perennial ryegrass on his farm, which although primarily located to the south of Ihumātao Road, also included Allotment 170. The first experimental planting of this ecotype as pasture evidently occurred on land in the Ōtuataua Stonefields, chosen to facilitate improvements in performance because it contained the ‘worst’ paddock on the farm. This ecotype was subsequently developed into Grasslands Nui and Ellett ryegrass, which became the most widely used perennial ryegrass varieties in New Zealand. In 2011, perennial ryegrass was described as ‘the foundation pasture species from which early $20 billion of export earnings flow into the New Zealand economy from the pastoral industries’. Other activity within the Ōtuataua Stonefields landscape included industrial-scale quarrying of Ōtuataua pā and related works for the Māngere Sewage Treatment Plant to the north, which included heavily modifying the shoreline.
Concern about the impact of these works, and urban redevelopment elsewhere, helped stimulate more substantial interest in the ancestral, archaeological and other importance of the area. In 1991, much of the lava flow area was formally classified by the then New Zealand Historic Places Trust - now Heritage New Zealand Pouhere Taonga - for its archaeological values. An overlapping, but not identical area was subsequently purchased by Manukau City Council site for the creation of a historic reserve, which was formally opened by Prime Minister Helen Clarke in 2001, with the Kīngitanga Queen, Dame Te Atairangikaahu in attendance. In 2007, this land was included on New Zealand’s Tentative List for World Heritage status as part of the Auckland Volcanic Fields proposal.
Subsequent attempts by Manukau City Council and its successor Auckland Council to restrict the development of farmland immediately to the south and east of the lava flow were opposed by its private landowners. Both Makaurau Marae, based at Puketāpapa papakāinga, and Te Kawerau Iwi Tribal Authority opposed urban development, emphasising the cultural importance of the land to tangata whenua. After an Environment Court case ruled in the landowners’ favour, a large area visually and physically connecting the papakāinga with the maunga at Ōtuataua and Puketāpapatanga ā Hape was designated a Special Housing Area and proposed for a major residential project. A community group - Save Our Unique Landscape (SOUL) - based at Puketāpapa, subsequently took direct action and occupied part of this land.
In early 2019, SOUL delivered a petition with some 18,000 signatures to Parliament, and later with 20,000 signatures to Auckland Council, requesting that these bodies buy the affected land or mandate a process ‘that will enable all affected parties to work together to produce an outcome everyone can live with’. A stated purpose of the action was ‘protecting this landscape for all New Zealanders and future generations’. After campaigners occupying the land were served an eviction notice in July 2019, direct support for the group and its aims came from a large number of New Zealanders from different cultural backgrounds. In August 2019, a hikoi from the site to Auckland took a further petition with over 20,000 signatures requesting that the Prime Minister visit the site. Raising the Kīngitanga flag on the whenua, also in August, Kīngitanga leader King Tūheitia, subsequently mediated discussions among tangata whenua groups. A national news site editorial has stated: ‘Even those who dismissed the Ihumātao occupation as “woke Woodstock” were impressed by the sheer scale and speed of support…It was a peaceful and culturally powerful movement that became a national cause celebre’.
Most of the Ōtuataua Stonefields site is in public ownership. The area designated a Special Housing Area and other land bordering the Ihumātao Road are (10 February 2020) privately owned.
Ōtuataua Stonefields is situated in south Auckland, on the Ihumātao Peninsula. The Peninsula extends into the Manukau Harbour to the southwest of Māngere and to the northwest of Auckland International Airport. Ōtuataua Stonefields forms a significant remnant of a wider, intermittently surviving landscape connected with Auckland’s volcanic field, which holds strong traditional associations with Māori communities as well as notable archaeological evidence of Māori horticulture, settlement and related activity. Due to its cultural and other values, especially notable elements of the Auckland Volcanic Field are on New Zealand’s Tentative List for World Heritage status. The latter refers to the cultural value of iconic volcanic cones at Maungawhau (Mt Eden), Maungakiekie (One Tree Hill), Maungarei (Mt Wellington) and Te Pane ō Mataoho (Māngere Mountain), in addition to ‘the remarkable Otuataua stonefield gardens complex’.
Ōtuataua Stonefields occupies most of the northern part of the Ihumātao Peninsula. It lies within an immediately wider landscape of importance, which includes Te Motu ā Hiaroa or Puketūtū Island to the north of the site, and Maungataketake (Elletts Mountain) to the south. Once covered by ‘stonefield’ gardening systems, Te Motu ā Hiaroa has been extensively modified by quarrying and other activities, but retains archaeological sites and significant traditional associations, notably due to its close associations with the Tainui waka. The Manukau Harbour - which includes a channel between Ōtuataua Stonefields and Te Motu ā Hiaroa known as Te Tārai ō Kaiwhare - is also associated with many ancestral and other traditions.
The raised lava fields and volcanic cones of Ōtuataua and Te Puketāpapatanga ā Hape belong to a range of volcanic features on the Ihumātao Peninsula, which also include remnants of the once-impressive volcanic cone and pā at Maungataketake in the southern part, which has been substantially quarried away. Land between Te Puketāpapatanga ā Hape and Maungataketake is generally lower-lying and contains a number of watercourses traversing volcanic loam soils. The cones, lava fields and soils have collectively been referred to as a consequence of Te Riri ō Mataoho. The elite soils have been seen ‘as taonga of special significance to Te Waiōhua’.
Although impacted by quarrying, modern farming and increasingly other development, the southern part of the Peninsula retains a number of important archaeological sites and remnant landscapes. These include terraces, stone alignments and other survivals around the base of Maungataketake, as well as the site of Ihumātao kāinga and its associated Wesleyan mission station. In the early 2000s, excavations at the nearby Northern Runway Development (NRD) site uncovered settlement and extensive burial on low-lying land, possibly dating to the 1600s and 1700s. Land between the NRD site and Maungataketake incorporates the site of Te Tiki pā, historically associated with an associated kāinga and cultivation areas.
Traditional sources note that other land in the vicinity of the Ihumātao and Ōruarangi Roads formed part of settlement and cultivation areas known respectively as Ōputu and Pukeruke. The current settlement at Puketāpapa (now also known as Ihumātao) papakāinga, directly adjoins the Ōtuataua Stonefields site and has been referred to as ‘the region’s oldest and largest Māori community located within its ancestral landscape’. Incorporating Makaurau Marae and residential housing, it lies beside the Ōruarangi Creek - itself a taonga to the community. A large number of pre-European archaeological sites on the northeast side of the Ōruarangi Creek have been identified. In general, recent archaeological work has uncovered a much greater density, variety and complexity of pre-1860s human activity than was previously identified. Tangata whenua perspectives encompass a consideration that the broad landscape, including Maungataketake, Te Motu ā Hiaroa, Ōruarangi and Waitomokia (to the northeast of Ōruarangi) is significant for its spiritual, cultural and visual landscape values, and has high importance as a wāhi tūpuna.
The Peninsula also contains unusually extensive remnants of a nineteenth- and early twentieth-century European farming landscape, which reflects historical agricultural practices and rural settlement patterns at Auckland - the most significant nineteenth-century urban centre in northern New Zealand, and for much of the twentieth century the country’s largest city. Formally recognised components of this landscape include the Rennie-Jones Homestead at 210 Ihumātao Road (1885; List No.686, Category 2 historic place); and the Paul Homestead at 556 Ōruarangi Road.
Land to the east of the Ōruarangi Road, including that immediately around the Paul Homestead, has recently been redeveloped for commercial use and includes a number of industrial warehouses. Most land to the south of Ihumātao Road remains in use as pasture, as is land to the north of Ihumātao Road at its very western end. Recent redevelopment has occurred in the southwest part of the adjoining allotment at 261-315 Ōruarangi Road (Pt Allot 171 Parish of Manurewa).
General site description
The site encompasses a large area of land immediately to the west of Puketāpapa papakāinga. Its boundaries acknowledge the land’s complex and multi-layered history, with strong traditional links to adjoining features of importance such as the Manukau Harbour, Ōruarangi Creek and Te Tārai ō Kaiwhare, as well as Puketāpapa papakāinga. The site encompasses land associated with many centuries of human activity, with ancestral and other connections that retain ongoing meaning. It reflects successive significant periods of horticultural and agricultural activity that extend from an early stage in the human history of Aotearoa New Zealand to the recent past.
The site incorporates almost the entire volcanic field associated with Ōtuataua and Te Puketāpapatanga ā Hape, covering some 100 hectares. Visually distinctive lava flow terrain primarily extends north, east and west from the two maunga towards the Manukau Harbour and Ōruarangi Creek - parts of which also lie within the site extent. The southern part of the site includes lower-lying land, currently predominantly in pasture. Now forming a rare type of surviving volcanic landscape and associated farmland remnant within the Auckland conurbation, the atmospheric and other distinctive landscape qualities of the site, including its ‘stonefield’ features and drystone walls, have frequently been commented on. The site’s aesthetic appeal is enhanced by its location directly beside the Manukau Harbour, with views out towards the Manukau Heads, Te Motu ā Hiaroa and other landmarks.
The lava flow is associated with an extensive complex of features, many of which are of stone, leading to the term ‘stonefields’. Although there are many visible components, the land also includes a large quantity of in-ground archaeological material, relatively little of which has been investigated through excavation or similar means. The lava flow area has been increasingly recognised as a palimpsest of evolving and overlying landscapes of different periods, making its interpretation complex. While many elements have been generally regarded as Māori in origin and use, a considerable number of components linked with later nineteenth and twentieth-century European use, including stone features, homestead sites and areas of quarrying, have also been identified. Quarrying has removed part of Te Puketāpapatanga ā Hape cone, much of Ōtuataua cone, and some lava flow areas primarily to the northwest of Ōtuataua.
The adjoining coastal land and mudflat strip to the north incorporates some fingers of lava flow containing recorded archaeological material and a wāhi tapu known as Te Puna Wai ā Hape. To the south and southeast of the lava flow, relatively stone-free land includes a low tuff ring containing a small freshwater lagoon. This part of the site contains some identified pre-European archaeological material and is historically associated with shifts in Māori agricultural practice in the 1840s-60s connected with Puketāpapa papakāinga. It also incorporates well-preserved European homesteads and other components connected with farming the lava fields in the late nineteenth and twentieth centuries as part of an integrated agricultural landscape encompassing both the lava flow and immediately adjoining land for year-round pasturage. Importantly, the eastern parts of this land visually and physically connect the papakāinga with significant parts of its ancestral landscape - including the maunga at Ōtuataua and Te Puketāpapatanga ā Hape.
Collectively, features within the site relate to:
- Early ancestral occupation, including that connected with Hape and the arrival of the Tainui waka, as well as traditions linked with Mataoho;
- Extensive horticultural activity and related settlement with ancestral connections, possibly from the fifteenth century onwards;
- Activity connected with changing Māori agricultural practice in the 1840s-60s, including through possible influence on the layout of the post-1866 landscape. Some features may be connected with European stock-grazing during or immediately after the Waikato War, reflecting the immediate impact of land loss to Māori communities;
- A superimposed network of allotments, roads and farmsteads, linked with the establishment of predominantly small-scale mixed farming by early European settlers, in which Māori communities contributed as part of the local workforce; and
- Homesteads, subdivided field boundaries and other infrastructure linked with the rise of dairying as an important regional activity.
The main elements within the site are described zonally in the following order:
i) West sector (Lots 1-2, 4 DP 198546, Allot 177B Parish of Manurewa, part of Pt Allot 171 Parish of Manurewa, part of Pt Tidal Lands of Manukau Harbour SO 67474, and northern part of Ihumātao Quarry Road - Legal Road);
ii) East sector (Lots 3,5 DP 198546, Allot 181 Parish of Manurewa, and Quarry Road - Legal Road);
iii) North sector (Part of Sec 9 SO 497537);
iv) South sector (Allots 177, 177A Parish of Manurewa); and
v) Southeast sector (Lots 1-2 DP 481169, and southern part of Ihumātao Quarry Road - Legal Road).
Regarding the relationship between current parcels within the site extent and Allotments surveyed in 1866 - which are referred to in the historical narrative - these are as follows:
Parcel (Oct 2019) Allotment(s) Comment
Lot 1 DP 198546 Allotment 170 N. part of Allotment 170
Lot 2 DP 198546 Allotment 171 N. part of Allotment 171
Pt Allot 171 Parish of Manurewa Allotment 171 S. part of Allotment 171
Lot 4 DP 198546 Allotment 172 Most of Allot 172
Sec 9 SO 497537 Allotments 173, 174, 175 Includes very northern parts of Allotments 172, 173, 174
Lot 5 DP 198546 Allotments 173 Most of Allotment 173
Lot 3 DP 198546 Allotments 174 Most of Allotment 174
Lot 2 DP 481169 Allotments 175 Almost all of Allotment 175
Lot 1 DP 481169 Allotments 176 All of Allotment 176
Allot 177 Parish of Manurewa Allotments 177 All of Allotment 177
Allot 177A Parish of Manurewa Allotments 177A All of Allotment 177A
Allot 177B Parish of Manurewa Allotments 177B All of Allotment 177B
Allot 181 Parish of Manurewa Allotments 181 All of Allotment 181
This area comprises Ōtuataua maunga, the Ōtuataua lava flow, land and mudflats along the edge of the Manukau Harbour, and some low lying land to the south of the lava flow. In relation to early European property boundaries, it encompasses the northern part of former Allotment 170, most of Allotments 171 and 172, and all of Allotment 177B.
Major features include Ōtuataua maunga, a wāhi tapu connected with the deities Mataoho and Atua Taua (god of war parties). The maunga also incorporates the remains of a terraced hill pā. Although the central part of the hill has been quarried away, parts of the lower terracing associated with the pā survives on several flanks. The maunga still forms a distinctive remnant and visual focus as the highest part of the site. An adjacent lava cave contains the remains of walls of unknown date and shell midden.
A dense and complex network of ‘stonefield’ features survives on the lava flow to the north and west of Ōtuataua maunga. These features encompass a large number of stone scatters, mounds or heaps, alignments and walls, as well as stone-free areas of varying size and outline. Many of the latter are irregular in plan, and correspond with locally lower-lying parts of the lava flow in which a greater depth of soil could be used for gardening. Some smaller outlines are sub-rectangular, potentially indicating the sites of associated houses or structures. One of these is associated with material that has been radiocarbon-dated to probably the fifteenth or sixteenth century. Pits for crop storage are also visible, reflecting their wider emergence as a horticultural innovation by ancestral Māori after arrival in New Zealand. Artefacts retrieved from archaeological excavations to the northwest of Ōtuataua maunga in 2012 included a small vertebrate faunal assemblage, a basalt adze, and numerous obsidian fragments and several adze flakes - the latter indicative of tool production or reworking.
Shell midden is found throughout the lava flow area, including in this sector, suggesting exploitation of marine resources in addition to horticulture as part of mixed economic activity. A sample of shell midden and associated deposits from Lot 4 DP 198546 yielded a radiocarbon date probably in the sixteenth or seventeenth century. Two areas of midden have also been identified to the south of the lava flow in the southeast part of Pt Allotment 171. One of these has been radiocarbon-dated to probably the sixteenth or seventeenth century, indicating contemporary use of land both on and off the lava flow.
Linear stone rows on east-west ridges in the eastern part of Lot 1 DP 198546 have been suggested as representing parts of the late 1840s-early 1860s fieldscape in this sector - being similarly aligned to the boundaries of cultivations indicated on the 1853 Pandora survey. Alternatively they may represent remnants of an earlier cone to coast field system similar to those found in tropical Polynesia. Nearby are sub-rectangular stone heaps of a type suggested as connected with land clearance and other use in the pre-1863 period of Māori agricultural use - perhaps particularly with white potato cultivation.
A walled grove of karaka and fig trees could reflect Māori enterprise in the pre-1863 period, or be associated with later activity. Other enclosures may relate to animal-keeping, or protection of plantings from stock, at similar periods. One well-preserved example in the northern part of Lot 1 DP 198546 appears to contain a rectangular building platform, a small inner enclosure at its south end and a main entrance in its west side facing the Manukau Harbour. Use of the landscape for grazing is known to have occurred by Waikato settlers and others during the Waikato War, as well as by European farmers after raupatu or confiscation.
Graphically demonstrating the introduction of colonial approaches to land tenure and control within the landscape, the sector contains long, straight and generally well-preserved drystone walls of local basalt separating the European landholdings represented by allotments surveyed in 1866. They appear to have formed impermeable barriers, without gates or other interconnecting access between the allotments. They also reflect an ongoing tradition of using local basalt for bounding cultivations and other agricultural practice - in this instance also drawing on prototypes from settler homelands including Scotland and Wales. The northern section of the Ihumātao Quarry Road, surveyed in 1866, reflects the importance of basic access routes to farmsteads within the early colonial landscape. This track is bounded by traces of a ditch on one side and a drystone wall on the other.
Also within this sector are the initial Morris and Montgomerie farmstead sites. These were respectively created in association with small, early European farms on Allotments 171 and 172, probably in the late 1860s and mid-1870s. The Montgomerie site encompasses a relatively flat piece of ground - presumably for a homestead - several trees and a network of drystone walls; and is also associated with a brick-lined well in the northern part of Part Allotment 171. The Morris site is represented by elements that include mature trees, notably a large Norfolk Island Pine and a macrocarpa.
Subsequent landscape changes brought about by shifts from mixed farming are demonstrated by the current Montgomerie (also known as Mendelssohn) Homestead. Stylistically, this is a late transitional bay villa of probable early twentieth century date, whose relative size and grandeur can be seen to reflect prosperity resulting from dairying. Likely built for John (Jock) Montgomerie, a significant individual in Auckland’s dairy industry, the single-storey timber structure contains a relatively well-preserved internal layout. An attached garage of identical cladding indicates the importance of motor transport to rural dairying communities at this time. Associated mature plantings include a hedge, a large jacaranda and what may be a flame tree, all evidently planted before the late 1930s.
Secondary subdivisions within the large bounded allotments include both drystone walls and hedges, sometimes in combination. In some instances, they incorporate infrastructure to water stock, reflecting changes from mixed farming to dairying. Shelter trees for stock also survive, including three large Moreton Bay Figs as part of the Montgomerie holding on Allotment 171. Initial experimentation on an ecotype that was subsequently developed into Grasslands Nui and Ellett perennial ryegrass evidently occurred in Lot 1 DP 198546.
This sector encompasses the main part of Te Puketāpapatanga ā Hape cone and most of its associated lava flow. It includes all of Allotment 181 and most of the former Allotments 173 and 174, surveyed in 1866.
Considered highly tapu, Te Puketāpapatanga ā Hape is a small, well-defined cone immediately to the east of Ihumātao Quarry Road. Its east side has been subject to quarrying, but it is otherwise well-preserved. Of very great importance for its connections with Hape and the deity Mataoho, it is considered to have been a terraced occupation site. It has strong visual connections with the Manukau Harbour, Te Motu ā Hiaroa and Puketāpapa papakāinga - the latter being named after this hill.
The cone is associated with several caves in which ancestral bones or kōiwi have been deposited in the past. Traditional stories identify at least six caves across the land area to the west of the Ōruarangi Road. They encompass those known as Te Hopua and Te Haupapa, which are considered by the Puketāpapa community to be wāhi tapu. Lava tubes connecting the caves are also considered by the community to have the same status. At least two of the larger caves are reported to have had stone walls built across their passages, possibly to restrict access. Te Puketāpapatanga ā Hape is also associated with the burial of whenua, or afterbirth - a tradition that is ongoing - and the recitation of karakia.
Much of Lots 3 and 5 DP 198546 has been cleared of surface stone or has stone concentrations concealed beneath later pasture, but as with areas further west, outlines of in-ground archaeological features are extensively visible. The latter include numerous alignments representing enclosures or other land bounded by stone. There appears to be a greater preponderance of long, linear rows visible than further west. These may reflect an extensive cone to coast field system with major walls broadly orientated north-south and shorter lengths generally aligned east-west. They have been interpreted as representing small fields some 100-200 square metres in size. Smaller enclosures have been seen as habitation areas, particularly adjacent to rough lava tumuli.
‘Stonefield’ elements extend eastwards towards the current banks of the Ōruarangi Creek, where midden deposits have been recorded. Indications of enclosure outlines in the very eastern part of Lot 3 DP 198546 are situated in the vicinity of a settlement known as Ōtekiore, present on 1850s plans of the area. Ōtekiore is significant for reasons that include its associations with Pōtatau Te Wherowhero and the establishment of the Kīngitanga movement.
European farmstead sites include one occupied by the Somerville family, probably from the late 1860s - which formed the centrepiece of their holding on Allotment 173. This retains a rectangular concrete structure, possibly the base for a water tank, and trees forming part of a shelter belt. A small timber farmhouse, now situated at the Rennie Homestead, was previously located at this site.
Long drystone walls demarcate much of the boundary of Lot 5 DP 198546 in particular. A stone wall also separates Lot 3 DP 198546 from the papakāinga to the east. Distinct stone enclosure remnants that could be linked with early stock containment include a well-preserved sub-rectangular example in the northern part of Lot 5 DP 198546, which adjoins several longer enclosures extending southwards beneath a later drystone field boundary. An alternative theory is that these features are earlier structures linked with specialist gardening such as growing yams or hue.
Regular, drystone subdivision walls, potentially linked with a more substantial emphasis on dairying and pre-dating circa 1899, survive particularly in Lot 5 DP 198546. Shelter trees for stock sometimes survive at the junction of these subdivisions. Pine trees also line the eastern side of the Ihumātao Quarry Road. The base of a windmill, necessary for pumping water to assist dairying processes carried out on the Wallace farm from perhaps the early twentieth century onward, is located in the northern part of Lot 5. Other infrastructure in this sector includes concrete troughs for watering animals.
The only major modern structure is a gun club building in Lot 3 DP 198546, which is currently disused for its original purpose.
The north sector incorporates land beside and within the Manukau Harbour, and also at the mouth of the Ōruarangi Creek. The southern part of this sector formed the very northern part of Allotments 172, 173 and 174, as surveyed in 1866.
This sector includes the sacred spring known as Te Puna Wai ā Hape, customarily drawn on for personal and spiritual use. Areas of midden have also been recorded on raised ridges of lava flow extending into the Manukau Harbour. Land between and northward of these ridges has been reclaimed and subject to other activity linked with twentieth-century quarrying and access along the foreshore. These later deposits may seal and preserve earlier archaeological material along the marine fringe.
A large quarry dating from the 1950s onwards cuts into the edge of the lava flow in the southwestern part of the area. This destroyed karaka bush covering a coastal headland, known to be a significant traditional place. Remains at the mouth of the Ōruarangi Creek include identified midden and the western footing of the Ōruarangi Bridge, created in 1905 to enable the more efficient transport of milk for processing.
Land within the northern part of Allotment 177A contains a fragment of the lower slopes of Ōtuataua pā, and what may be an area of shallow quarrying within the southern part of the Ōtuataua lava flow. Immediately to the southeast of the latter is an area of irregular ground that has been postulated by one archaeologist as a ‘mound garden’ reflecting the cultivation of kūmara. This adjoins a small freshwater lagoon in the base of a shallow crater. Marked on 1860s plans of the area, the lagoon is likely to have represented a major water source for peoples using soils on the lava flow and adjoining areas for pre-European horticulture, and more certainly remained so after the first European farms were established. Relatively flat ground to the southwest has recently been found to contain a spread of shell midden near Ihumātao Road, potentially indicating similar activity to that occurring in Allotment 171 to the west.
No pre-European, in-ground archaeological features have so far been identified within Allotment 177. The property is, however, situated in the vicinity of an area known traditionally as Ōputu, which evidently included an extensive kāinga and cultivations. It also lies within an area forming part of the documented field system in the 1850s, with the general orientation of at least some of its boundaries - including the current Ōruarangi Road - broadly aligning with those indicated on the 1853 Pandora plan.
Most of the currently visible remains on the land appear to be post-1866 in date. They include the Rennie Homestead, outbuildings and garden; and other farm structures on land to the northwest. The Rennie Homestead and its garden are enclosed on two sides by a drystone wall, and a picket fence on its southeast side. The garden contains a number of mature trees.
The circa 1905 timber homestead is of ornate, single-storey corner bay villa type. As with the Montgomerie Homestead, its relatively well-appointed nature can be seen to reflect the wealth and material status introduced by dairying. Clad with rusticated weatherboards and a corrugated iron roof with wide eaves, it incorporates a return verandah with highly decorative spindles and fretwork on its southeast (front) and northeast sides. A separate porch associated with a side entrance on its southwest elevation is similarly decorated. An impressive front doorway with fanlights and sidelights retains its original furniture.
The early twentieth-century interior is well-preserved in both its plan and details. An L-plan passage connects the front door with the side entrance. A large number of internal details survive, including cast iron fireplaces with elaborate surrounds. Unusual remnants in former service areas at the rear include a connecting cupboard between the former kitchen and dining room; and cupboards with original early twentieth-century fittings in what may have been a scullery.
Several related outbuildings survive to the northwest of the house. The oldest of these is a cottage of probable two-room type, brought to the site in the early 1900s from the Somerville Farmstead on the nearby lava flow, and re-used as a washhouse. Likely to have been initially erected during initial occupation of Allotment 173 by the Somerville family after 1867, this is the last surviving farmhouse from initial European occupation of the Ōtuataua and Te Puketāpapatanga ā Hape lava flow. Its scale in relation to the Rennie house graphically demonstrates the humble nature of initial European farming enterprise on the lava fields before the prosperity brought about by dairying.
The building consists of a single-storey, rectangular structure with a gabled roof. It incorporates a twelve-light window in one of its main elevations, which may have flanked a central doorway. Alterations likely to have taken place after relocation to the site include the insertion of a brick chimney and base for a copper, and the addition of a door and rusticated weatherboards on an end wall nearest the house. It also incorporates an outside toilet. Adjoining it is a gable-roofed garage of early twentieth century date, which like the former Somerville Farmhouse is currently in poor condition. Further north are three further structures of small size that are likely to be connected with storage or other farm-related activities.
Further north are the remains of other parts of the once-extensive Rennie farmstead complex. They include the collapsed remnants of what may have been a long, rectangular farm building; the floor and concrete footings of a former loft milking shed - believed to have been the first used by the farm; and the standing remnants of a 1940s walk-through milking shed, which retains internal arrangements, including bails. The footings of a workers’ house, which consisted of the relocated Morris Farmhouse (removed prior to 2010-11), also survive next to a drystone wall separating the southern and northern parts of Allotment 177. Other drystone walls and rows of shelter trees also exist, the latter especially lining the eastern paddocks.
A modern hay barn dates to the early 1980s.
This area covers just over 33 hectares to the east of Allotments 177A and 177. Lots 1 and 2 are bisected by the southern part of Ihumātao Quarry Road. Lot 2 DP 481169 also directly adjoins the current Puketāpapa papakāinga to the east. Collectively, both lots lie in the direct sightline between the papakāinga and the Ōtuataua and Te Puketāpapatanga ā Hape cones. Lots 1 and 2 DP 481169 generally retain the same boundaries as Allotments 175 and 176 surveyed in 1866.
The northwest part of Lot 1 DP 481169 contains the lower slopes of Ōtuataua pā, including a large flat terrace. Shell midden has been recorded immediately inside the northwest boundary of the property, where the ground rises up from the terrace to meet the current drystone boundary wall. Shell fragments are also visible on the surface of the terrace, which is broad in width and extends along much of the northwest part of Lot 1. It is particularly wide in the centre of Lot 1, where it is post-dated by a northwest-southeast drystone wall of likely late nineteenth-century date. The ground slopes down gently from the edge of the terrace to a much larger expanse of flatter ground to the north of an east-west watercourse.
Two other areas of shell midden have been noted in Lot 1: one immediately to the south of the east-west watercourse, within the berm of the Ihumātao Quarry Road and extending at least 11 metres into the adjoining paddock, and another on slightly raised ground in the southern part of the Lot, also close to the former watercourse. Like midden in Pt Allotment 171 and Allotment 177A, they have the potential to provide knowledge about activity immediately around the edges of the lava flow. They may be associated with activity at Puketāpapa or a nearby area known as Pukeruke - noted as incorporating ‘a very significant geographical feature, settlement area and gardens’ to the east of Ōruarangi Road, which is understood to have ‘high quality and sensitivity values in terms of the ancestral relationships held with it by the Makaurau Marae community’.
The northwest part of Lot 2 DP 481169 includes the lower slopes of Te Puketāpapatanga ā Hape and its associated lava flow. It incorporates additional cave openings to those noted above in the east sector, which traditionally held kōiwi. Other voids not currently breaching the surface have been recently located slightly further to the south within the lava flow area.
Beside the northeast boundary of Lot 2, the lava flow visibly extends to a piece of low ground, where the east-west watercourse flows into land that currently forms part of the Puketāpapa papakāinga. The freshwater springs known as Te Punarere ā Hape lie in the general vicinity. These have traditionally been used - and continue to be used - for ceremonial purposes including blessing and healing, and are considered wāhi tapu.
At least part of the area occupies land indicated as containing a field system associated with Puketāpapa in the 1850s. The broad alignment of the main current allotment boundaries - particularly the northeast, southeast and southwest boundaries of Lot 1 - are similar to those indicated on the 1853 plan. Currently, the main external boundaries of Lot 1 are of drystone wall construction, other than in the southwestern part of the Lot, where a pre-existing wall has been removed. Only the southwest and southern part of the southeast external boundaries of Lot 2 incorporate stone walling, which broadly coincides with the extent of fields illustrated in the 1850s. In their present form the structures appear to be of the same general type as walls of European date elsewhere on the lava flow and adjoining land. However, the broad coincidence of their orientation (and in some respects also distribution) suggests that their positions may at least have been influenced by earlier field system arrangements.
One feature of likely 1850s or early 1860s use is a flat platform terraced into the lower slope of Te Puketāpapatanga ā Hape. This coincides with the position of a building noted on the 1866 survey of the block, and looks out towards Puketāpapa. It is either connected with Māori settlement beside the field system or brief occupation by Waikato settlers and others during and immediately after the Waikato War.
Surviving features of the post-1866 European farming landscape include the Wallace Farmstead site in the northwest part of Lot 2, adjoining Ihumātao Quarry Road. Visible remnants include the raised drystone platform of a late nineteenth- or early twentieth-century building, probably a cowshed; other dairying-related facilities of likely early twentieth-century date; mature plantings including a pōhutukawa (1875) and large fig tree; and an entanceway to the homestead.
Related features in the landscape include a variety of field boundary types, including drystone walls around the perimeters (as noted above), other - possibly secondary - drystone walls forming internal boundaries, hedges, and post and wire fences. Post and wire fences appear on images dating to circa 1899, and some of the currently surviving posts are highly weathered, with indications of having been restrung on more than one occasion. A post and wire fence near the base of the Puketāpapatanga ā Hape lava flow is associated with an alignment of closely-laid stones that appear to be broadly faced on their northwest side. The reason for this arrangement is unclear, but it may have demarcated pasture to the west from land cultivated by plough to the east.
Another notable feature, specifically linked with land improvement after the late 1860s, consists of a line of basalt stones in the base of the east-west watercourse, which likely represents the capping for a stone drain. Anomalies noted during geophysical survey elsewhere in the watercourse and in the northeast and southeast boundaries of Lot 2 suggest similar sections of drains elsewhere. Documentary evidence suggests that they may be based on approaches used by the Wallaces on the lands of the Duke of Argyll in Scotland, and have been considered to represent a rare type of early drainage not commonly recorded in New Zealand.
Infrastructure associated with stock, possibly created after a greater focus on dairying, includes shelter trees, some associated with drystone walls to enable them to become established - these are generally associated with the field subdivision walls. There are also numerous concrete troughs, including one close to the position of a former windmill for pumping water on Lot 2 DP 481169, the site of which is demarcated by a drystone wall. A more recent twentieth-century structure linked with dairying also exists in the central part of Lot 2 DP 481169, close to Ihumātao Quarry Road.
A substantial homestead dating to the 1920s, known as Kintyre, survives in the southeast part of Lot 1. Erected for Hugh Wallace prior to 1928, it is believed to have been designed by notable local architect and three-time Mayor of Onehunga, John Park - who was also responsible for the Onehunga Carnegie Library (List No.4796, Category 1 historic place). The house consists of an ornate, stucco California bungalow with considerable aesthetic appeal. Like the Montgomerie House and Rennie Homestead, its well-appointed nature and more public position demonstrate the improved material situation and status gained by farmers from dairying. Its grounds contain a number of trees, including a pōhutukawa planted at a similar time to initial house construction.
Both the exterior and interior of the house are well-preserved. The exterior incorporates a roof of complex design clad with Marseilles tiles and elegant, narrow chimneys. Its gables have exposed timber framing; and the inclusion of four porches, one on each elevation, can be seen to reinforce the homestead’s connectivity with its surrounding farm. Internally, the house is arranged around an L-plan hall, with an elegant front room and inter-connected dining area on one side and less public rooms on the other. The interior contains a quantity of exposed timbering and elegant, leadlight windows. A garage at the rear is of more recent construction.
A brick, 1950s house also survives in the northern part of Lot 1.
As noted above, shell midden has been found within the berm of the Ihumātao Quarry Road, which is a metalled public thoroughfare. In recent times, it has also been a focus for campaigning against the proposed redevelopment of much of Lots 1-2 DP 481169, including being lined with flags and messages in 2018.
Ōtuataua Stonefields is a nationally significant ancestral Māori site. As a notable component of the Auckland Volcanic Field, it also has likely international value. The Auckland Volcanic Field encompasses surviving pā and associated horticultural landscapes that collectively form ‘an outstanding example of a traditional human settlement or land-use which are representative of the Maori culture’ and which represent ‘superb examples of the culmination of Maori culture prior to European occupation of New Zealand’. The importance of these remnants is enhanced by the strength of their ongoing associations with Māori communities, including through traditional and spiritual practice. In a national context, the Auckland Volcanic Field has been seen as more extensive, densely used or complex than other comparable cultural landscapes in Aotearoa New Zealand, for example in Northland, the Bay of Plenty and south Waikato.
Ōtuataua Stonefields is outstanding as the largest surviving site incorporating early horticultural and associated features within the Auckland Volcanic Field. Its lava field contains just under half of the estimated 200 hectares of surviving stonefield features on the Tāmaki isthmus, which are collectively likely to have once covered many thousand hectares. The only other major survival is the Matukurua Stonefields (List No. 6054; currently a Category 2 historic place), which incorporates some 60 hectares associated with Matukutūreia (McLaughlins Mountain) and Matukutūruru (Wiri Mountain). Ōtuataua Stonefields is the only remnant on the isthmus to effectively incorporate an entire volcanic field, and adjoins freshwater sources on its landward fringe as well as encompassing a coastal connection. It consequently has unusually large potential to provide knowledge about the evolution and organisation of horticultural systems and related activities within a wide and varied landscape context.
Ōtuataua Stonefields is particularly important for its past and ongoing ancestral connections with associated Māori communities, including inhabitants of the directly adjoining papakāinga at Puketāpapa or Ihumātao village. The latter demonstrates a very rare level of continuity of physical association with a visibly surviving ancestral landscape of this type in an Auckland context. The strength of these connections is reinforced by the papakāinga’s direct association with agricultural and other activity at Ōtuataua Stonefields after the signing of Te Tiriti ō Waitangi / The Treaty of Waitangi (1840) - itself a very rare and large-scale expression of ‘the golden age of Māori enterprise’ in relation to other surviving horticultural sites on the isthmus such as Matukurua - and return to the land after raupatu or confiscation. The length of ancestral association and retention of a distinctive cultural identity separate from the rest of Auckland has been seen as making the papakāinga community ‘unique in any urban setting in the country’.
In combination with traditional approaches to horticulture prior to European arrival and subsequent use of new agricultural approaches in the 1840s-60s, the significance of Ōtuataua Stonefields is enhanced by its extensive retention of agricultural and settlement remains linked with small-scale mixed farming during the colonial period and the subsequent adoption of dairying - an industry of major importance in New Zealand. Collectively, the widespread survival of visible remnants linked with several major stages in the history of New Zealand agriculture since early human arrival is likely to be rare at a national level. In the Auckland region, it is believed to be unique.
In view of the rapid disappearance of rural land throughout south Auckland in recent years, the visually distinctive post-1866 farmscape in the Ihumātao Peninsula - with its drystone walls and other features - has in itself been considered regionally significant. Such types of places or areas have so far been rarely been recognised as formal heritage through entry on the New Zealand Heritage List in northern New Zealand, other than as individual homesteads or farmsteads. In-ground archaeological farmstead sites have also been considered relatively rare in the Auckland region, making the survival of several well-preserved examples on interconnected farmland especially significant from a regional perspective. An important historical dimension at Ōtuataua Stonefields was the ongoing connection between adjoining Māori and farming communities. In 1996, a comparative study noted that no other stonefield area in New Zealand encapsulates so many relationships and that from a historical and archaeological perspective, Ōtuataua Stonefields ranked among the most important heritage sites in the country.
Other major remaining stonefield complexes outside the Auckland Volcanic Field include Pouerua and Waipoua in Northland; Potikirua Point on the East Coast; and Palliser Bay in the Wairarapa. Each has its own traditional, historical and community associations that are distinct from Ōtuataua Stonefields. Unlike Ōtuataua Stonefields, none are located in close proximity to a large urban population.
Pouerua (List No. 6711; Category 1 historic place) encompasses an entire lava field of several hundred hectares associated with Pouerua pā and numerous kāinga. Considered substantially intact, its horticultural features include stone rows, heaps, mounds, alignments and enclosures on stonier soils, and shallow boundary trenches on soils with a greater depth of ash. Its later use includes a notable early European farming landscape associated with the leader of the Church Missionary Society, Henry Williams and his sons, incorporating ‘stonefield systems created by the missionary Williams in his training of Maori in British farming practices’. The place has very significant meaning for its associated Māori communities, and remains largely in agricultural use. It differs from Ōtuataua Stonefields in its inland location and potential relationships with coastal resources, connectivity and trade. The extent of its use by Māori communities for agricultural or other purposes after European acquisition of the land in the 1830s is currently unclear.
Other known surviving stonefield remnants on volcanic soils in the upper North Island are generally less extensive than at Ōtuataua Stonefields and Pouerua. At Waipoua, a large area of stone features on clay loam soils has been interpreted as representing dispersed settlement and gardening activity rather than intensive approaches to horticulture. Further south, widespread remnants at Potikirua Point, on the East Coast, have been interpreted as reflecting intensive horticultural use, but relatively little is known about their chronology. In the Wairarapa, well-preserved stone walls and other remains covering some 80 hectares of coastal land at Palliser Bay have been considered to represent single-use gardens, created between the mid-fourteenth century and end of the fifteenth century. These have been considered archaeologically important for their ability to ‘collectively capture an economy at a defined period in time’ rather than long and intensive use. Parts lie within the Matakitaki a Kupe Historic Area (List No. 7093), which incorporates many places of high traditional and other importance.
Other than Pouerua, none of the above are currently known to be of high significance regarding their sequence of later agricultural histories.
Original construction - Possible date by which initial stone features created; radiocarbon date for midden linked with inland whare on lava flow
Construction of pā on maunga at Ōtuataua and Te Puketāpapatanga ā Hape
Radiocarbon dates for midden near the shoreline and on land to the south of the lava flow
Later Māori field systems; house platform on south slope of Te Puketāpapatanga ā Hape
Somerville Farmhouse (also known as Rennie Washhouse); drystone allotment walls; stone drains on Wallace Farm
Original construction - Large cowshed forming part of Wallace Farmstead
Somerville Farmhouse moved to Rennie Homestead and converted to a washhouse
Milking shed associated with Rennie Homestead
Pre-1866 archaeological features: Mostly stone, earth or a combination of both.
Somerville Farmhouse (also known as Rennie Washhouse) (circa late 1860s, modified early 1900s): Timber
Ōruarangi Bridge (1905): Stone
Rennie Homestead (c.1905): Timber
Montgomerie Homestead (early twentieth century): Timber
Kintyre (1920s): Concrete block
Milking shed (1940s): Concrete
Public NZAA Number
10th February 2020
Report Written By
Auckland Institute & Museum
Auckland Institute & Museum
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Department of Conservation
Department of Conservation
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New Zealand Historic Places Trust (NZHPT)
New Zealand Historic Places Trust
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Victoria University of Wellington
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Manukau City Council
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Bickler, Burnett, Clough, Tatton, Macready and Bacquié, 2017
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Environment Court Evidence
Murdoch, Graeme, ‘In the Matter of the Resource Management Act 1991 and In the Matter of Proposed Plan Change 14 to the Manukau District Plan and In the Matter of Proposed Plan Change 13 to the Auckland Regional Policy Statement and In the Matter of Notices of requirement by Manukau City Council to designate land for open space purposes at Ihumatao, and for AIAL to designate land for “Auckland International Airport: Land use (Renton Road Area)”: Statement of Evidence of Graeme John Murdoch,’ Gavin H. Wallace Limited v Auckland Council, NZEnvC 120, .
Plowman and Kerrigan, 2008
Plowman, Mica, and Carole-Lynne Kerrigan, ‘NZAA R11/1759 Midden, Oruarangi Creek, Otuataua Stonefields Historic Reserve, Manukau: Archaeological Damage Assessment Report’, unpublished report for Manukau City Council Parks, Auckland, 2008.
Rickard, Veart and Bulmer, 1983-4
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Please note that entry on the New Zealand Heritage List/Rārangi Kōrero 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.
Archaeological sites are protected by the Heritage New Zealand Pouhere Taonga Act 2014, regardless of whether they are entered on the New Zealand Heritage List/Rārangi Kōrero or not. Archaeological sites include ‘places associated with pre-1900 human activity, where there may be evidence relating to the history of New Zealand’. This List entry report should not be read as a statement on whether or not the archaeological provisions of the Act apply to the property (s) concerned. Please contact your local Heritage New Zealand office for archaeological advice.
A fully referenced copy of the Review Report for this place is available on request from the Mid-Northern Office of Heritage New Zealand.