Waihou Journeys: The Archaeology of 400 Years of Maori Settlement

Waihou Journeys: The Archaeology of 400 Years of Maori Settlement

Waihou Journeys: The Archaeology of 400 Years of Maori Settlement

Waihou Journeys: The Archaeology of 400 Years of Maori Settlement


An exploration of the archaeology of 400 years of Maori settlement of the Hauraki Plains near Auckland. It brings together Maori oral history, European written accounts, environmental reconstruction, and archaelogical excavation and analysis to build up a picture of Maori social and cultural change.


Waihou Journeys is a remarkable work. After many years of meticulous inquiry, Caroline Phillips has woven together diverse strands of evidence to create a compelling account of Māori life in the Waihou, from first arrival to the years after European settlement. the journals of European travellers, testimony in Land Court hearings, whakapapa and tribal histories, historical. ecology, archaeological surveys, and the excavation of particular sites are brought together to give life to the ancestral landscapes of Waihou.

In consecutive chapters, different kinds of data are painstakingly cross-checked and yield their surprises. Site surveyors find large settlements built on arduously constructed shell mounds, which early Māori witnesses in the Land Court barely mentioned. Entangled and migratory patterns of resource rights are illuminated by the Māori concepts of ahi kā, mana whenua, kāinga tuturu, posing a sharp challenge to settlement models based on European assumptions of fixed territory and sedentary dwelling. Historical Māori and European records are used to re-inhabit the great pā of Waihou, hitherto mainly known for their rich troves of 'Classical Maori' artefacts -- combs, pendants, cloak pins, bird spears and musical instruments

In this book, the story of Waihou is traced from the time of the first voyaging ancestors. They came ashore, stayed for a while, roughed out adzes from the local basalt, and built new ocean-going canoes for further adventures. Eventually small groups settled down, populating the fertile river valleys, fishing at sea, eeling, and planting gardens of kumara, yam, gourd and taro. in 1600 or so the region was convulsed by an earthquake, and parts of the Hauraki Plains subsided. in response, the Waihou people raised many of their settlements up on shell mounds, and above ground storehouses and platforms were constructed. the subsequent dynamic history of population growth, battles, migrations, the rise of the ariki and the arrival of Europeans with new animals, plants, weapons and diseases is recounted, with further archaeological insights. the tale draws to a close as enemies armed with muskets rampaged through the region, driving the people away. When they returned to the Waihou almost a decade later, they were few and relatively poor. Their leaders began to trade energetically with the Pakeha, growing commercial crops and trying to protect their lands from further incursions.

The methods used in this work are innovative, intricate and fascinating. in the frontispiece, a saying from Hauraki is quoted -- Nga puke ki Hauraki ka tarehua, e mihi ana ki te whenua, e tangi ana ki te tangata; the hills of Hauraki stand enshrouded by stars; I greet the land, I cry for the people. By the sheer quality of her research and the way she has brought it together, Caroline Phillips has paid eloquent tribute to the ancestors of Waihou, and to those who helped her on her journey of discovery.

Dame Professor Anne Salmond . . .

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