Moa bones handed over to museum after pre-dawn ceremony

Moa bones at Te Manawa, the Palmerston North Museum, after being discovered during highway work.

2021-04-07 12:08:16

When moa bones had been discovered 3m deep within the earth throughout a highway development mission, it was heralded as a discovery of nice significance.

Moa bones at Te Manawa, the Palmerston North Museum, after being discovered during highway work.

The bones had been welcomed to Palmerston North with a karakia and a waiata.
Picture: RNZ/ Dom Thomas

At a pre-dawn ceremony in the present day, these bones had been uplifted from that website, and moved to Te Manawa, the Palmerston North museum.

They had been carried inside wrapped up in containers, then laid out on the ground – with iwi members, kaitiaki representatives, and Waka Kotahi Transport Company employees sitting close by – the bones had been welcomed with a karakia and waiata.

When the ceremony was completed, the bones had been then carried out, to the rear of the museum, right into a storage room.

Most of the bones had been too fragile and delicate to be moved out of their containers and remained wrapped up however three bones – two ends of a tibia and a femur – had been laid out.

Most bones in storage abd too fragile for handling - three bones - two ends of a tibia, and a femur - were laid out.

The 2 ends of a tibia and a femur that had been revealed.
Picture: RNZ / Dom Thomas

Terry Hapi is the Pou Tiaki taiao, co-ordinating the kaitiaki to the varied websites requiring monitoring throughout the area, and was known as to the discover shortly after the bones had been first found on 9 March.

“The realm they had been present in [was] in a gully and the depth at which they had been found was about three to 4 metres beneath an present pond.

“Primarily based on that and the fabric that they had been present in we knew this was like virgin floor … and it was fairly historic in its kind and what it seemed like.”

Hapi, who can be deputy chair of the Rangitāne o Manawatū Settlement Belief, stated finds reminiscent of these had been of big significance.

“Figuring out that moa had been final strolling this earth spherical about 600 years in the past, [and from] manner earlier than our folks even got here to Aotearoa, it is a very sacred and important discover for us.”

Archaeologist Patrick Harsveldt was additionally known as on to the positioning on that day to substantiate the invention.

“The bones weren’t discovered articulated, which means the decrease leg bone wasn’t instantly related to the higher leg bone and vice versa, so we had been coping with a scatter over a number of sq. metres and flooring space.

“In order that meant that one thing had redeposited them earlier than the buildup of soil time beyond regulation. So maybe a scavenger?”

Waka Kotahi proprietor interface supervisor Lonnie Dalzell oversees the mission and stated whereas finds weren’t uncommon, moa bones on this space had been.

“It is the primary time that moa bones have been found within the space, so their significance is sort of excessive.

“Usually, our giant earthworks tasks do discover issues, and we now have a course of normally in place to have the ability to guarantee they’re protected and observe tikanga.”

Whereas a lot of what may be discovered from the moa bones remains to be to return, there have been some early deductions archaeologist Harsveldt made.

“My function because the archaeologist was to verify for proof of human exercise in affiliation with them.

“We didn’t discover any proof of butchery marks on the uncovered bones as we had been discovering them … and so we have decided that it’s, in actual fact, a pure deposit.”

Now the bones are within the labs, there can be pollen evaluation samples taken and radio carbon courting to glean additional info.

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