Topic: Environment

New archaeological discovery at ancient Tauranga Pā

By Mānia Clarke
  • Waikato/Bay of Plenty

An archaeological discovery of national significance has been made at Tauranga's ancient Otamataha Pā site. The discovery was found through new technology which paints a picture of anything underground.

A new report of an archaeological discovery at Otamataha Pā has local iwi excited.

“It's great! They just prove that what we been saying for a couple of hundred years is bang on,” said Ngātamarāho ki Huria elder, Peri Kohu.

“That this is the landing place of Takitimu in Tauranga. The supporting infrastructure is around that and the marae, the papa kāinga, the gardens, they're all here.”

Tauranga council did a survey of the site for a proposed museum using the country's only Ground Penetrating Radar.

Council Chief Digital Officer, Allan Lightborne said, “The yellow lines are showing the disturbances in the soil.”

“So what this machine can tell us is the orientation of the disturbances, the depth of the disturbances occurred.

Because of the depth of what we're seeing here. It's pretty clear that it was something that is relatively old in age.”

“Pā sites are the most significant archaeological sites that we deal with,” said Heritage NZ Lower Northern area manager, Ben Pick.

“And we sort of have a policy of no development on those sights, so it would have to be a very careful authority application.”

One of the recommendations of the report is if kōiwi tangata (human remains) are discovered here where Otamataha Pā once stood, all work will cease, until further notice is received from local iwi and Heritage New Zealand.

 “I don't think they'll find anything here,” said Kohu.

“It's not our people's practise to bury them where they're living. So there are other places around here that have been designated for that purpose.”

Kohu hopes the museum will go ahead and incorporate a living display of the Pā discovery.