Archaeologists, historians and iwi authorities have been disturbed at information somebody has illegally helped themself to an archaeological website, destructively digging as a lot as a metre-and-a-half by way of a website utilized by early Māori.
Jane MacKnight, the Otago-Southland supervisor of Heritage New Zealand/Pouhere Taonga has visited the location, on Awamoa Creek close to Oamaru, and has seen the harm.
She mentioned that whereas the total extent of the harm was unknown, the earth had been turned over a couple of metre-and-a-half, totally on the northern aspect of the creek financial institution but additionally partly on the south aspect.
“We do not know what’s been taken or what’s been disturbed as a result of plenty of the clods had been put again into place if you happen to like,” she mentioned.
“Presumably they have been on the lookout for one thing they thought of may need been of tradable worth, Moa bones or maybe adzes.”
The realm was mainly a mahinga kai website, the place early Māori processed and ate moa. Such materials was faraway from the location by the 19th century naturalist Walter Mantell, who was a collector of moa stays.
“We additionally perceive it to be a part of a travelling route for early Māori, which is doubtlessly of higher significance, as a result of plenty of the South Island is admittedly essential for the travelling routes reasonably than say occupation websites,” MacKnight mentioned.
“By way of working with mana whenua, now we have been working intently with Te Rūnanga o Moeraki and we’ll proceed to work with them in relation to the location.”
She mentioned the harm was a “egocentric act”, that was taking away from a website that was for all New Zealanders.
“It is taking away tales, it is taking away the potential for later analysis of the location and it is largely misinformed, based mostly upon what we all know in regards to the website … they will not arguably have the information to grasp what they’re disturbing.”
Whereas the group would have a look at prosecuting over the harm, they have been unable to maneuver ahead with out the id of who had carried out it.
“Our course of is that we are going to report the location harm, our archaeologist has been on website earlier this week as effectively and made a report, however we haven’t any proof as to who did the harm and so until now we have that proof, we’re unable to prosecute,” she mentioned.
“The disturbing factor is that it’s extremely blatant fossicking of a website that is protected and clearly signed as protected.”