Te Whare Taonga o Kororareka

Fifty Years Ago, in 1965 – #192

That summer, a team of archaeologists from the University of Otago excavated a pa site on Moturua Island. Almost 200 years previously, Marion du Fresne’s crew had attacked the village, in reprisal for the death of their captain, killing about 200 inhabitants. They also made a map, reportedly  “the only known plan of a Maori settlement or fortification from the entire 1769 to 1840 period.” This plan is of Paeroa Pa, redrawn from the original made by the French.

A 1965 newspaper report described some of the archaeologists’ finds: “In the corner of what must have been a hut site were a number of fish hooks of bone, as if they had all been in a basket which fell to the ground when the place was destroyed. A most beautiful bone pendant, a delicate little thing no more than an inch and a half long…of the uncommon type called a ‘kinked’ pendant, like two shallow crescents, one above the other…A great number of obsidian chips have been discovered…” Where these artefacts are now is unknown, at least as far as we have been able to discover. We are still investigating.

Source: Dansey, Harry. “Digging for the stories from long ago” pg 7, The Auckland Star, February 20, 1965. Photo from Fox, Aileen , 1976. “Prehistoric Maori Fortifications in the North Island of New Zealand.” pg 48.