Mangaheia Station, Tauwhareparae Road, Tolaga Bay

  • Pits. K L Jones NZAA Site Record No. Y17/182 August 1982. Heritage New Zealand Archaeological Slide Collection - Ref. 3092.
    Copyright: Heritage New Zealand.
  • Pits. Looking west towards knoll and Y17/182.
    Copyright: Heritage New Zealand. Taken By: Joanna Wylie. Date: 16/11/2007.
  • Pits. Close up of vague pit looking north.
    Copyright: Heritage New Zealand. Taken By: Joanna Wylie. Date: 16/11/2007.

List Entry Information

List Entry Status Listed List Entry Type Historic Place Category 2 Public Access Private/No Public Access
List Number 6548 Date Entered 25th September 1986 Date of Effect 25th September 1986


Extent of List Entry

The registration includes part of the land described as Pt Lot 1 DP 372, Block XI Uawa Survey District, Gisborne Land District and the archaeological site Y17/182 (New Zealand Archaeological Association Site Record Number).

City/District Council

Gisborne District


Gisborne Region

Legal description

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


New Zealand Archaeological Association Site Record Number Y17/182 is a pit site that forms part of the dense archaeological landscape of the Tolaga Bay (Uawa) area. It is located on Mangaheia Station, to the west of the Tolaga Bay township.

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

Pit and pit/ terrace sites are very common in Tolaga Bay, and demonstrate the importance of horticulture to Tolaga Bay's earliest inhabitants. The Bay's fertile soils and temperate climate were well suited to kumara gardening, and the pits were used for storing harvested kumara over the winter months. Rectangular storage pits (which were once roofed with a layer of earth), are more prevalent than the underground storage pits found elsewhere in New Zealand, a pattern attributed to the harder substrate of the soil in this area. They are in fact the most common archaeological site type in Tolaga Bay, and are found along the river banks and on the rolling hills to the south of the Bay. They are generally located on ridge crests, in lines from end to end, or in clusters on knolls or terraces, as is the case with this site Y17/182.

Pit site Y17/182 is located under pasture on a small knoll approximately 10-15 metres high and 50 metres long, directly west of Mangaheia Road, just north of the bridge over the Patiki Stream when heading south down the road. A number of other archaeological sites have been recorded in the surrounding area, mostly pit and pit/terrace sites.

This site was first recorded as part of the archaeological survey work undertaken by archaeologist Kevin Jones in the Whangara, Tolaga Bay and Uawa Catchment areas in 1982-1983. This survey work was undertaken to gain information about the nature of prehistoric settlement in this locality, and also to evaluate specific sites for registration under the Historic Places Act 1980. Jones observed the site from above (from the ridgeline to the north), and recorded a total of four pits on the top of the knoll. He noted that the knoll had poor drainage to west but silty soils to the east, and was probably a location where crops were grown. Jones also noted that the site was possibly under threat from further extension of the farm road leading up the knoll from its southern end.

In 2000, pit site Y17/182 was observed from the ridgeline above and north of the knoll by archaeologist Vanessa Tanner as part of the New Zealand Archaeological Association Site Recording Scheme Upgrade Project. None of the pits were visible from above. Pit site Y17/182 was visited by the New Zealand Historic Places Trust in November 2007. The pits were very vague, and only just visible on the surface of the knoll.

Y17/182 is one of numerous pit and pit/terrace sites recorded in the Tolaga Bay area, and is part of a dense archaeological and cultural landscape that is of considerable significance to Te Aitanga a Hauiti. This landscape reflects the intensive Maori occupation and settlement of the Tolaga Bay area since the 14th - 15th centuries AD, and the important role that horticulture played in this.


Additional informationopen/close

Construction Dates

Public NZAA Number


Completion Date

8th March 2008

Report Written By

Joanna Wylie

Information Sources

Department of Conservation

Department of Conservation

Cooks Cove Walkway, Gisborne, 1998

New Zealand Journal of Archaeology

New Zealand Journal of Archaeology

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

New Zealand Archaeological Association (NZAA)

New Zealand Archaeological Association

Association Site Record Form for Z17/182 - original Site Record Form and 2000 update.

Historic Places in New Zealand

Historic Places in New Zealand

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

Other Information

Iwi/ Hapu/ Whanau: Te Aitanga a Hauiti

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

Please note that entry on the New Zealand Heritage List/Rarangi Korero identifies only the heritage values of the property concerned, and should not be construed as advice on the state of the property, or as a comment of its soundness or safety, including in regard to earthquake risk, safety in the event of fire, or insanitary conditions.