Kōiwi found near Waikato construction site

By Semi Holland
  • Waikato/Bay of Plenty

Human remains have been found at the construction site of the Waikato Expressway in Huntly. The remains were discovered in an area affiliated to several Tainui subtribes.

The remains were discovered by archaeologists here at Kimihia, an area affiliated to several Tainui subtribes including Ngāti Mahuta and Ngāti Whawhakia.

Tangata whenua representative, Moko Tauariki says, “Archaeologists have confirmed finding some remains here. We've left the archaeologists to get on with their work.”

Archaeologists say the discovery is pre-European.

“Our role now is to firstly perform the appropriate blessings and then arrange a place to move them so the workers can get on with it,” says Tauriki.

Archaeologist Colin Sutherland told Te Kāea, “We came across some bones and further investigation of those showed them to be a scale and it's likely they are kōiwi or human remains.”

The Waikato Expressway is the largest road construction project undertaken in NZ.

Since the construction of the expressway began other koiwi have also been discovered as well as kumara pits.

Tauariki says, “This is the very reason why we have continued to work with the NZTA since construction began over three years ago.”

The NZTA has been mindful of the archaeology in the area and has various measures and protocols in place to deal with the finds.

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