Volume 59 1950 > Volume 59, No. 1 > Supplementary data relating to the ancient Waitaha..., by G. Leslie Adkin, p 1-34
SUPPLEMENTARY DATA RELATING TO THE ANCIENT WAITAHA IN THE HOROWHENUA—TE WHANGA-NUI-A-TARA AREA, NORTH ISLAND, NEW ZEALAND.
IN this paper are presented additional evidence of and data relating to the sojourn of the ancient Waitaha people in the territory of south-western Wellington during their progressive migration down Te Ika-a-Maui—the North Island of New Zealand.
Since the completion in 1941 of the manuscript of material published in December 1948, in the present writer's volume entitled Horowhenua 1, important supplementary information concerning the ancient Waitaha of the North Island has come to light. With one slight modification this supplementary material has strengthened, in a manner pleasing to the author, a number of tentative conclusions which had to remain tentative for lack, at that time, of sufficient confirmatory evidence, but now appear to be satisfactorily established. As a matter of fact much of the additional data about to be submitted was actually in - 2 existence then, but, in one important instance had not been revealed, and in other cases remained uncollected or not fully elucidated until after the completion of the manuscript of the larger publication.
This explanation of the position will serve as an introduction to the presentation here of the additional material bearing on the subject of the earliest human occupation of New Zealand—cumulative evidence that appears to strengthen, indeed confirm, the thesis of an earlier migration through and cultural occupation of the North Island. To doubt this now would make necessary the assumption that the ancient Waitaha of the South Island migrated thence to the North Island, and there left traces of their distinctive culture from Cook Strait to North Auckland. Such a view seems paradoxical, nor does an early visit, in defiance of tradition, of the migration under Rakaihautu to the North Island prior to its affirmed arrivel at and settlement in the South Island appear possible.
The present writer has given archaeological evidence (Horowhenua, pp. 117-118) of earlier Waitaha occupation of the North Island preceding the traditional separate occupation of the South. Tradition has it that two canoes—the Matiti and the Uruao—brought the earliest inhabitants, the Waitaha, to New Zealand. The Uruao canoe, under the command of Rakaihautu, is declared to have populated the South Island, and this presumably gives to the Matiti canoe (of which no traditional information remains other than its name and the identy of its people) priority as the vessel of the original North Island immigrants. The occurrence in the North Island of a predominance of archaic antiquities as compared with similar material in the South furnishes well-founded evidence of an earlier human occupation of the former; reference to some of the previously recorded archaic objects from Western Wellington coastal region will be found in a later section.
RANGE OF WAITAHA OCCUPATION IN HOROWHENUA
In Horowhenua, p. 80, it was suggested, on the evidence then available, that the ancient Waitaha occupation of the district was confined to the open coastal belt and that it was unlikely that the then densely forested hinterland - 3 was traversed or utilized by this people. As is often the case with such tentative conclusions based on negative evidence, this has been found to require some modification. It can now be recorded that at least two relatively easily accessible places within the forested tract must have been visited by the Waitaha occupants; probably occasional or perhaps periodic seasonal expeditions were made by way of good routes to obtain forest products or species of birds not available within the coastal region. Finds of adzes in two separate locations furnish the evidence. At one site two adzes of undoubted Waitaha type were unearthed; at the other a similar specimen of probable but as yet of less definitely established Waitaha type, was disclosed by the burning off of the bush for European settlement.
The first site was on the sandstone upland in the vicinity of the Heatherlea cross-roads, north of Levin, and less than two and a half miles east of the northern end of Lake Horowhenua. A spur or undissected strip of the upland surface gave easy and direct access to the Heatherlea site from the immediate vicinity of the now proved Waitaha pa-site at Mangaroa. Indeed, for the inhabitants of that spot it was the obvious and inevitable route into the inland forest. Further, it is significant that the adze finds were located on the nearer side of the first transverse gully-system barring further direct progress by this route. The locality has yielded traces of occupation and artifacts of much later date (probably all of Muaupoko origin), but on typological grounds the adzes here referred to must be ascribed to the Waitaha.
The two adzes referred to were found on Section 13, Block 14, Mount Robinson Survey District. The larger specimen (fig. 1) was ploughed up in 1913 by the former owner of the property, the late Mr. H. Barber, and passed into the possession of the present owner, Mr. H. Sorenson, who unearthed the second, smaller adze in May 1944. It was not until July of that year that the present writer learned of their existence, and on examination recognized their special interest.
Hitherto, only two of three sub-types of the type IV Waitaha adze had come to light in Horowhenua: three specimens of sub-type A (the narrow cutting-edge, triangular, “hog-backed” form); and eight specimens of sub- - 4 type B (the triangular cross-section form with apex downward). Of the Heatherlea examples, one belongs to subtype B, while the other is an excellent specimen of sub-type C—a form hitherto unknown in Horowhenua, viz., that with quadrilateral cross-section, medium-width cutting-edge, with, in this case, the thickness of the implement exceeding the breadth (proportion of 9:7), and the lateral aspect presenting an exact counterpart of that of sub-type A.
These adze-forms (provisionally termed IVA, IVB, and IVC, respectively) are typologically inseparably linked: IVB with IVA by the cross-section; IVC with IVA by the characteristic uma and outline of the lateral aspect; IVC with IVB by form of cutting-edge and general aspect. The present writer thus sees no alternative but to group these Waitaha adze-forms within a single type (type IV) with three recognized sub-types “which exhibit a general somatic resemblance” (Skinner 2). The criterion of cross-section which might have been expected to be a crucial one, is thus not exclusively characteristic of a single type, other salient characters linking up forms possessing other cross-sections. This point is recognized by Skinner within the range of his type I (J.P.S., vol. 49, p. 288). Also, all the specimens from Horowhenua and vicinity are further tied to a common culture source by the close similarity of rock-type utilized and techinque employed.
DESCRIPTION OF HEATHERLEA ADZES. Adze, type IV (fig. 1) length, 9 7/16in.; length of anterior bevel, 2 7/8in.; length of tang, 4¼in.; width of cutting edge, 1¼in.; maximum width between lateral surfaces, 1¾in.; maximum width of anterior surface, 1⅜in.; of posterior surface, 1½in.; thickness at bevel shoulder (and for an inch to rear of it), 2¼in.; thickness at butt shoulder, 2in.; weight, 2lb. 4oz.
The cross-section is quadrilateral with all surfaces slightly convex transversely. The bevel shoulder is slight, grading almost imperceptibly into the anterior surface; the bevel is slightly hollow-ground towards rear. The - 5 curve of the uma (posterior surface) is identical to that of the IVA adze from ancient Native Burial No. 7 (see Horowhenua, fig. 65, p. 74), and to that of the East Miramar type IVA adze (described in the sequel). The extent of the ground surfaces is indicated in the accompanying fig 1; remaining surfaces have a bruised (and chipped) finish, lightly ground. The material is a metamorphosed argillite, colour medium to light grey with both darker and lighter lines of shear; the rock is intensely hard and dense, the fully ground and polished surfaces having an unusually glassy appearance.
Adze, type IVB. A small, less-carefully fashioned specimen: cross-section triangular, but broadening to quadrangular at bevel apex, apex downward: without butt shoulder or tang: bevel and anterior surfaces ground. The material is a greenish-grey metamorphosed argillite, of exactly the same tint and texture as, and thus possibly taken from, the same block of stone that furnished the slab from which the Native Burial No. 7 adze was fashioned. Length, nearly 3¾in.; length of bevel, ⅞in.; max. width, 1/116 in.; max. thickness, nearly ¾in.; weight, 2½oz.
The second inland site from which we have evidence of Waitaha penetration is located near the inner edge of the plain on the lower slopes of the foothill ridge behind the outlying Poroporo Ridge (see Horowhenua, area map VI). Relatively easy access to this spot would be via the Ohau River. In early times the river ran in a defined channel through dense forest, but numerous open glades occurred along its course and afforded a means of progress to the Tararua foothills not elsewhere then available. At this place also, an adze was found (fig. 2).
About the year 1900, in the early days of general European settlement of this coast, the felling and burning of the bush was followed by seed-sowing, during which operation small objects on the fire-swept ground would be very conspicuous to the men engaged on the work. The adze referred to still shows signs of having been subjected to fire, which confirmed the statement of the finder, the late Mr. Harry Bird, of Manakau, that it was picked up on a bush burn during the work of sowing grass-seed; this was near the foot of the hill adjacent to the debouchure of the Makorokio - 6 Stream (a lesser tributary of the Ohau River) close to the eastern boundary of Section 9, Block IX, Waiopehu Survey District.
Typologically, this adze is included in the related series of massive wedge-like form, with narrow cutting-edge, shaped (or ornamented) poll, and possessing transverse ridges (or grooves). Evidence is not yet complete that adzes within this type can definitely be assured as being of Waitaha origin but technique and skilled artistry of craftsmanship point in that direction. This specimen is therefore tentatively assumed to indicate another venue of Waitaha penetration into the forested hinterland of Horowhenua.
DESCRIPTION OF MAKOROKIO ADZE (fig. 2). Quadrilateral cross-section with lateral surfaces flatter than anterior and posterior surfaces: body massive, thickness being nearly equal to breadth: shaped and rounded symmetrical poll: prominent transverse ridges at bevel shoulder and butt shoulder respectively. The material appears to be a very compact and indurated greywacke with hardness and sheared condition due to dynamic metamorphism; the shear lines are of darker hue than the rock itself, the colour of which is a dark brownish-grey. Length, 8⅞in.; length of bevel, nearly 1⅞in.; length of tang, 2½—2¾in.; cutting edge, 1¾in., somewhat oblique; max. breadth, 2⅛in.; max. thickness, 2/116 in.; thickness at bevel shoulder, 1⅞in.; at butt shoulder, 2/116 in.; weight, 2lb. 11oz.
A third case of a Waitahi adze found inland but not, in this case, actually within the forest, was a specimen of type IVA (fig. 3) from the extreme eastern end of the former Weraroa Clearing, which was located adjacent to the present town of Levin (see Horowhenua, area map VII). The Weraroa Clearing in its original state was an extensive tract of low and stunted growth of vegetation on an area of relatively infertile stony ground, enclosed by the normal luxuriant rain-forest of the district. In Waitaha times this area of fern and shrubby vegetation had probably not been burnt off as afterwards it was by one of the later tribes. However, in all probability irregular open spaces inviting exploration originally occurred here and there, and since the western end of the “clearing” was within half a mile - 7 of the south-eastern shore of Lake Horowhenua, it seems natural that Waitaha inhabitants of the dune-belt would occasionally visit it. Evidently they did so since a characteristic adze was found close to the Richard Prouse homestead (adjacent to the Levin railway-station) about the year 1908.
DESCRIPTION OF WERAROA ADZE (fig. 3). A typical example of type IVA, differing from the Burial No. 7 adze only in size, colour of stone, and shape of cutting edge, and matching, in respect to the last feature, the East Miramar type IVA adze described below (page 11). Length, 6 5/16in.; length of anterior bevel, 2⅞in.; length of tang, 2¼in.; max. breadth, 1⅝in.; max. thickness (at bevel apex and at butt shoulder equal), 1¾in.; weight, 14½oz. The material is a pale grey-green metamorphosed argillite with shear-lines of slightly lighter tint, and two irregular inclusions of black argillite, contact between the parts of contrasting colour being clean-cut but completely “welded.”
A PA OF THE ANCIENT WAITAHA.
Amongst the more important of the new evidence to hand is that giving confirmation of the construction and occupation by the ancient Waitaha of the old pa-site at Mangaroa on the northern shore of Lake Horowhenua. 3 Indication of the pre-Muaupoko origin of this swamp-girt pa-mound, on the facts acquired up to 1941, was two-fold: firstly, the averred disassociation of their tribe with the site by the well-informed Muaupoko people of last century; and secondly, the connection with the pa-site of unique primitive engineering works—causeway, canal, and canoe-breastwork—as well as the locally-unusual foundation construction of the pa-mound itself; also, the occurrence in the pa-mound of artifacts of archaic type and highly-skilled workmanship that seemed to differentiate them from the general native culture of the district.
In 1942, Mr. Richard Rolston, of Levin, commenced the systematic excavation of this pa-mound and recovered an interesting and extensive collection of material ranging from artifacts and implements in stone, bone, and wood to skeletal - 8 remains. Accounts of much of this material was published by him in three papers in the Polynesian Journal, 4 but no classification was attempted, and the record was somewhat confused by the interpolated description of objects from sites having little if any connection with the one described. Some crucial points emerged however. On the evidence of a human cranium and of at least one adze-type (type IVB) augmenting and supplementing the evidence furnished by the site of the pa itself and its appurtenances, as well as objects obtained from it previously, the origin and original occupation of this place must be ascribed to the ancient Waitaha people. It is manifest, however, that the site has much intrusive and subsequent material mixed with the earlier. At one stage it was thought that the intrusive material was merely of chance Muaupoko origin, lost or discarded in that vicinity. The range of objects discovered and placed on record by Rolston, however, seems to suggest the possibility, indeed the probability, that the site was also used by the ousters and successors of the original Waitaha inhabitants, i.e., by the section of the tangata whenua known as Ngatimamoe 5 (Horowhenua, p. 122).
This evaluation of the apparent successive occupation of the pa-mound at Mangaroa creates a more complicated problem than had been anticipated and adds difficulty to the correct assignment of some units of the multiple cultures represented. Thus two adze types that occur among the material from the site cannot definitely be allotted to either of the earlier cultures, Waitaha or Ngatimamoe, though undoubtedly they belong to one or the other.
One of these types is known locally only from this site. It has a broad, short, rather massive form, of quadrilateral cross-section, longitudinal edges well rounded off, and poll rounded and shaped in a careful and complete manner. The last characteristic is considered a crucial one, and one that - 9 sharply separates the type from types assignable to post-Fleet cultures, in which intentional shaping of the poll is invariably neglected. On the other hand, a number of Horowhenua adze-types with this feature (especially: heavy, massive form with narrow cutting edge and carefully-shaped oblique poll; heavy, massive form with ornamental poll; forms with prominent transverse ridge or ridges with trimmed, ground, or fashioned poll) have been regarded on the criteria of highly skilled workmanship, archaic character, and rarity of occurrence as of possible Waitaha origin.
The other adze type is of sub-triangular cross-section (posterior surface very narrow, or completely rounded into a continuation of the lateral surfaces), bevel-surface triangular, longitudinal edges ill-defined or chamfered, poll left rough. It had been hoped that the establishment of the “Mangaroa” pa-mound as an exclusive Waitaha site would have furnished us with further positive criteria of adze and other type-forms useful for general application and diagnosis; this, however, has now been discounted by the factor of subsequent Ngatimamoe occupation of the site. In this connection it must be admitted that it is extremely likely that after the displacement of the Waitaha from the district generally, by the incoming and over-running Ngatimamoe hordes, the latter would take possession of and occupy the vacated dwelling sites and other facilities, and possibly even imitate to the best of their ability some of the artifacts and phases of the undoubtedly superior culture of their predecessors. 6
The skeletal material from the site included portion of a skull broken into five fragments. The finder kindly presented these to the present writer who finally succeeded in assembling them into a sufficiently complete whole to enable the necessary measurements to be taken to determine identity. The skull proved to be dolichocephalic, with a definite longitudinal ridge on the crest, and narrow forehead (110 mm.); the cephalic index (skull length, 183 mm., breadth, 135 mm.) was 73. These features and measurements very completely link this skull with the series found in the ancient burials of Otororoa Ridge and other ethno- - 10 logically-related burial-sites of the Horowhenua dune-belt, and prove the “Mangaroa” skull to belong to the distinctive Waitaha type. It is beyond the bounds of probability that this skull was introduced as such to the pa-mound at Mangaroa by transference from one of the Waitaha burial sites, and it is suggested that the individual it represents was killed at “Mangaroa” by the incoming Ngatimamoe and was buried either casually or deliberately where he met his fate.
EVIDENCE OF WAITAHA OCCUPATION AT PORIRUA AND WELLINGTON HARBOUR.
Since 1941, in addition to the adzes from Heatherlea, near Levin, from near the Makorokio tributary, and from the Weraroa Clearing, dealt with above, artifacts assignable to the Waitaha culture have been found or have come to notice from Porirua and Wellington. In tracing, by means of archaeological data, the gradual Waitaha migration through the North Island from northernmost New Zealand to Cook Strait, the writer presented a map (Horowhenua, fig. 117) showing the general line of progression. This line was drawn to pass Wellington Harbour, but at the time of compilation no actual archaeological evidence had been found farther south than Titahi Bay. As recently as November, 1948, it was my good fortune to acquire, and also secure authentic particulars of, a fine specimen of Waitaha adze (type IVA) from the shores of the harbour (fig. 4).
This interesting implement was found by the late Mr. E. Gooder, between Seatoun and Karaka Bay, on the eastern side of Miramar Peninsula, c. 1903. The specimen still bears the finder's original label, but additional details were supplied by the brother of the finder, Mr. John Gooder, who had retained the item, with others, until the present time.
This adze is a typical example of the “hog-backed,” narrow-bladed, triangular cross-sectioned sub-type A of type IV, so evidential of the moa-hunter camps of the South Island, and, naturally, of Waitaha sites in the North Island. It closely resembles the adze figured as fig. 65, in the writer's Horowhenua, p. 74, both in material used and in general shape, but the tang is longer and the cutting edge straight instead of strongly curved.- 11
DESCRIPTION OF EAST MIRAMAR ADZE (fig. 4). Length, nearly 8¾in.; length of anterior bevel, 5⅛in.; length of tang, 3in.; cutting edge, ⅝in.; max. breadth, 2in.; max. thickness, 2¼in.; weight, 2lb. 2oz. It has the usual slight “hollow-back” at rear of uma (or strongly convex curve of posterior surface), is ground on both anterior and posterior bevels (including uma), and on the lateral surfaces for part distance back from cutting edge; poll roughly chipped; material: grey-green metamorphic argillite of homogenous composition and texture.
Recently, also, evidence has been forthcoming that Porirua Harbour was a former place of habitation, or at least of food-gathering activities of the ancient Waitaha. It has been recorded in Horowhenua (pp. 78-79) that a “hog-backed” adze, a badly broken specimen but the largest yet found in the North Island, was found embedded in the foreshore at the ruins of Fort Paremata. It was pointed out that from such a site its origin could hardly be determined with precision; as the quondam rendezvous of whalers, soldiers manning the fort, and Ngati-Toa raiders home from the South Island, it could have been casually introduced into the locality. A fourth possibility—that it is a genuine relic of Waitaha occupation—now seems to be the true explanation of its presence.
At this late date when this part especially of the shores of Porirua Harbour has reached an advanced state of development in European settlement, it may come as a surprise that the area can still yield, as it has signally done in the past, objects of early native culture. At the end of last century and into the beginning of the present one, the Paremata—Plimmerton district provided collectors with a wide range of native artifacts, some undoubtedly very ancient. During the recent world war parts of the local sand-dune belt were levelled for use in connection with the military camp. Since then the wind has lowered portions of the disturbed ground (about 10 chains east of the old fort) and exposed an ancient land-surface, strewn with considerable midden material. Search among this midden debris by Mr. C. H. Hyde, of Plimmerton, has resulted in the discovery of further relics of the past, mainly fish-hooks, complete or in course of manufacture. This material, which has a decidedly antique aspect, includes an entire one-piece - 12 bone hook with inturned point (fig. 5a), several others in fragmentary condition (figs. 5b, c, d), and a part-finished hook of similar form (fig. 5f) with the interior portion (fig. 5e) in course of separation by the “linear-series-of-borings” method. This fish-hook form and the method of fashioning are exactly duplicated in material taken from ancient moa-hunter camps of the South Island, e.g., see Teviotdale, J.P.S., Vol. 46, No. 3 (1937), figs. on p. 142.
Other material from the Paremata Flat site comprised: numerous flakes, and probably cutters, of flint; flakes of obsidian, blackstone (metamorphosed argillite), and greywacke; pieces of moa-bone (some partially worked); slender bird-bones (some artificially cut or pointed—fig. 5g); a tab of bone defined by sawn margins (fig. 5i); a large, cylindrical, partially-polished item of blackstone; sting-ray spines; 7 teeth (human, seal, ? dog, and ? pig); a small adze of nondescript form; and, of special interest, the blade-end of an adze of the heavy, rudely-chipped, thick-bodied adze-type (fig. 5h) associated with the Wairau Bar interments, as recorded by Duff. 8 Other than burnt oven-stones, the shells of edible marine molluscs form the bulk of the midden refuse: the tuangi (Chione stutchburyi) easily predominates, and there is present also a minor percentage of each of the following: the pipi (Amphidesma australe), the ataata (Lunella smaragda), the kawari (Cominella adspersa), the titiko (Amphibola crenata), and the hanikura (Macomona liliana), together with an occasional specimen of other species—the turret shell (Maoricolpus roseus), the speckled whelk (Cominella maculosa), the horn shell (Zeacumanthus lutulentus), etc.—lesser or non-food-supplying kinds which were probably dredged or scooped up fortuitously with the - 13 main catch. The collection as a whole merits placing on record in detail, especially if finds previously recorded or reported from the area could be compiled, classified, and incorporated in a systematic treatise.
On this new evidence plus that of the large broken type IVA adze, the Porirua site can safely be ranked as Waitaha; it seems obvious also, that the Ngatimamoe and, later, the tribes of “The Fleet” period successively occupied the locality.
WAITAHA VERSUS TANGATA-WHENUA.
The writer has gained the impression from a re-reading of Elsdon Best's articles on the Maruiwi, or, as preferred by him, the Mouriuri, that this eminent authority was led into a misunderstanding as to the identity of the earliest inhabitants of New Zealand. By accepting the statements of the sage Te Matorohanga on the matter of the earliest traditional inhabitants and linking their reputed characteristics, physical and cultural, together with their traditional dwelling-places, with former peoples that occupied known archaeological sites, it would appear that the so-called tangata-whenua and the ancient Waitaha have been confused and mistakenly regarded as a single race and community. Thirty years ago, the former Waitaha inhabitants of the South Island were generally regarded as semi-mythical, and the barely known Waitaha of the North Island as even less substantial. The enquiries of Chapman established the reality of the South Island Waitaha as former inhabitants of that island, and their material culture has since received confirmation and a knowledge of it has been expanded by the researches of Duff. Beattie, also, has gathered a store of knowledge concerning the lore of the former Waitaha inhabitants of the Murihiku region. More recently, the present writer has made a similar contribution in respect to the identity and culture of the Waitaha of the North Island, giving for the first time their craniological and general physical characteristics.
It is thus only in recent years that the idea of a prior people antedating the misnamed tangata-whenua, or “original inhabitants,” has received due recognition. Best, it seems, readily accepted the tradition of early supposed - 14 Melanesian-culture influences as logically fitting in with a number of non-Polynesian culture traits peculiar to the Fleet-Maori after his advent in New Zealand, and having apparent counterparts in Melanesia. Another pitfall was the further pseudo-traditional statement regarding the racial affinities of the supposed original inhabitants, a declaration since stigmatized as “the Melanesian myth.” Best then went further and tended to ascribe to the Mouriuri such archaic artifacts as, e.g., the so-called “spool” ornament (fig. 7g), now shown by the Wairau Bar burials (Duff, loc. cit.) to be necklace units, and on the evidence of the associated grave-goods attributable to the ancient Waitaha. The failure of New Zealand tradition to correctly designate the actual earliest immigrants to these isles, naming a later people as such, gives support to the contention (Adkin, Horowhenua, p. 113) that the very earliest inhabitants came to this country in times too remote to come within the scope of the memorized traditional records of the Maori of the Fleet of 1350 A.D.
It can be confidently accepted that the material culture of the ancient Waitaha was superior to any other brought to or developed within the New Zealand area. This is shown by the archaeological evidence. Their craftsmanship in the manufacture of artifacts—weapons, tools, and “ornaments”—in stone, wood, and bone, was of the highest order and unsurpassed; in carving, also, their skill exceeded, in conception and technique, even that displayed by the justly famed work of the Fleet tribes. Their successors, the so-called tangata-whenua, but preferably designated (following the Rev. Richard Taylor's information from Horowhenua) the Ngatimamoe, certainly possessed an inferior material culture, but it is doubtful if the physique of this people was as inferior as has been commonly supposed by the acceptance of details from a questionable traditional source.
RELICS OF ARCHAIC CULTURE IN WESTERN WELLINGTON AND CULTURAL LINKS WITH NORTH AUCKLAND.
Native artifacts and objects of unknown use, as well as certain rather enigmatic larger works attributable to primitive man, have come to light over the years throughout the length of the North Island. For the most part these - 15 appear to be confined to both coasts of northern Auckland and to the west coast of the remainder of the North Island. A few exceptions to this distribution, nevertheless, have been found in the eastern part of the country. The objects and works referred to have hitherto been rather vaguely classed as “archaic Maori,” and very little if any effort has been made to correlate them with any particular one of the several native cultures now known to have successively established themselves in this country.
The time now seems opportune to attempt something in this direction. The criteria available for correlation are as yet somewhat limited, but by building up on what has thus far been worked out, some progress seems possible.
Criteria so far selected and here suggested as being of determinative value apply more to the older cultures and peoples than to the existing tribes that reached these islands at a relatively late date. It has been the principal objective up to this stage to endeavour to discover those particular traits and customs that distinguish the life of the older peoples from the much better known regime of the Fleet peoples. The similar racial origin of the successive immigrants, Polynesian on the evidence, but in some cases perhaps not entirely so, means a basic similarity in the products of their material cultures. Melanesian influences in some of these, and supposed Melanesian strains in certain of the peoples represented, may or may not be wholly “a myth,” as insisted on by Williams. 9 It may be that the specific interpretations of the exotic elements of either kind, put forward in the past and unacceptable to some, are merely misinterpretations, and with due modification would conform to the truer pattern disclosing itself. Apart from these subordinate matters the basic racial similarity of the material cultures, therefore, makes for some difficulty in discrimination, and in the definition of criteria.
Selected criteria include: (a) Broken and charred bones of the moa in association with native ovens; (b) The presence of artifacts and worked objects in moa-bone; (c) Burials with the body placed in an upright, crouched attitude; (d) The presence in burials, or in other close - 16 association, of stone adze-types, especially of the type IV series; (e) Midden debris with associated artifacts or other handiwork in course of manufacture or execution; (f) Objects exhibiting the chevron pattern, usually of pierced technique; (g) The presence of necklace sets or units of “spool” unit-form; (h) The presence of fish-hooks of one-piece form with inturned point, and such hooks in course of manufacture by the “linear-series-of-borings” method; (i) Burials with complete moa egg; (j) Artifacts in stone and bone (but not in wood) with fine serial notching transverse to angles or projecting edges; (k) Workmanship of a precise and highly skilled nature; (l) The occurrence of “knives” of flint; (m) The occurrence of pumice pebbles or of artifacts in pumice sand, etc., in association with midden debris, etc., or in natural deposits.
Criteria (a), (b), (c), (e), (f), (g), (h), (i), (j), (k) may be regarded as distinguishing the ancient Waitaha culture; (d) as referable to any of the peoples, past or present, according to adze-type or types represented or in situ, with adzes of the type IV series indicating Waitaha; (l) may be a fairly reliable indication of Ngatimamoe culture (see Beattie, Trans. N.Z. Inst., Vol. 52, p. 48); (m) in all cases not located in or adjacent to the central plateau of the North Island, or near other sources of volcanic pumice, the presence of pumice in quantity is a criterion of times antedating the tribes of the Fleet, or their immediate predecessors, but later than the period of the earliest people (see below). By discoveries of association of other distinctive objects or motifs with criteria already established, additional criteria should and undoubtedly will gradaually be built up, and much that still remains obscure be rendered increasingly intelligible.
From these generalizations consideration may be given to finds of objects or artifacts of problematical character or of some degree of rarity along the coastal region of western Wellington from Terawhiti to Patea (fig. 6). An exhaustive treatment is not possible as many objects from this territory must be in existence of which the present writer has no knowledge or information. Preliminary to some discussion on the recorded or known material, a few remarks on certain features and attributes may be relevant.- 17
Many of the articles under consideration, artistic in form and detail as they may be, cannot properly be regarded as mere ornaments, but must be classed, in all or nearly all such cases, as Dr. Skinner has done, as amulets. The design, shape, and particular character of these have, or originally had, some definite symbolical or sacred significance. As regards implements, weapons, and such like, conformity to traditional form and pattern was in most cases a controlling factor. In the manufacture of objects intended to function as amulets, pattern and form of a symbolic nature had to be very strictly adhered to, and as a result persisted, even though in course of time the knowledge and mental conception of their original meaning or significance became less vivid. There would develop a tendency, therefore, after a considerable lapse of time, for some details to be omitted, with the survival of the more generalized pattern or form only. The most elaborate and detailed pattern or form of any individual type of artifact or amulet, on these grounds, must be regarded as being ancestral to the more generalized forms of the same type. Here appears to be a distinction between symbolism and ornamentation. Symbolic designs when repeated tend to degenerate as consciousness of their original significance fades in the mind of the craftsman; on the other hand, ornamentation, that is adornment for its purely aesthetic value, tends to elaboration as practice, and development of skill in craftsmanship, give the artificer expanded aspirations. The embellishment of native implements, weapons, and other articles, many of them of common and everyday use, was probably less for the mere sake of decoration than for a measure of symbolism (and the supposed special qualities connected therewith) which imparted mana to prized personal possessions.
In giving the following brief descriptions no attempt will be made to deal with the items in their chronological order of discovery, or systematically according to their geographical distribution, except as recorded on the map, fig. 6. Among the more remarkable of the objects on our list are what may be described as “slotted stone balls.” Three specimens are known, all confined to the area under review, none having been recorded from any other part of New Zealand. One (fig. 7a) was dug up in the Waverley - 18 district (J.P.S., Vol. 34, No. 3 (1925), p. 273). It is globular in form, diameters 2⅜in. and 2in., and made of “a black, close-grained stone, probably greywacke.” On one side is a deep narrow slot or cleft extending nearly to the centre of the object; the opposite side has an incised lozenge-shaped design. All surfaces, including the slot, have a smooth finish. A second specimen (fig. 7b), also globular in form, and having the same deep slot but lacking the incised lozenge-design, was found near the mouth of the Rangitikei River (J.P.S., Vol. 34, No. 4, p. 385). It is of similar size to the other but apparently cut from a different stone, this specimen having a high polish. The third specimen (fig. 7c) was dug up on the old site of Motuhara, near Plimmerton, Porirua Harbour (J.P.S., Vol. 35, No. 2 (1926), p. 175). It has the same deep slot, but in shape is reniform, not globular. The slot is transverse to the longer axis, and on the opposite side there is an incised design—a longitudinal groove with serrated edges. These serrations appear to have been formed by transverse cuts sawn across the longitudinal groove, and may be related to the serial transverse angle-notching of “spool” necklace-units and other similarly patterned archaic artifacts now attributable to the ancient Waitaha. The measurements are: length, 2¾in.; depth, 1¾in.; breadth, 1in.; the stone is black and the surfaces bear a good polish. These objects appear to be phallic emblems; there is no traditional information concerning them.
Another remarkable piece (fig. 7f) is the tribrach from Okehu, between Wanganui and Waitotara, figured by Hamilton (Maori Art, p. 346, plate XLVIII, fig. 3). Its size is not indicated, but it is described as made of “a hard dense flint-like stone.” Actually, the material appears to be “blackstone” (i.e., metamorphosed argillite), a rock possessing the qualities of toughness and hardness necessary to shape such a form by the chipping process. In stone-fashioning technique in New Zealand native cultures it is unique, matching in skill the supreme flint-shaping craftsmanship of ancient Egypt. The only similar form from the New Zealand area is the triple-hollow scraper from the Nevis Valley, 10 - 19 east of Lake Wakatipu, an implement bearing no real relationship to the Okehu tribrach.
The Kohi Cave mural (fig. 8) at the site near Waverley has elements in the design not known elsewhere in New Zealand. These are fan-form motifs, two in number. Other elements are lizard-like creatures with an oval-shaped object in the mouth of each; one has two heads and two have arm- or flipper-like limbs. Three well-executed spirals are prominent, each having the outer end prolonged into an S-curve. A number of obscure minor motifs also occur. The late T. W. Downes (J.P.S., Vol. 34, No. 3 (1925), p. 252) photographed this mural and the late L. S. Mackie studied and recorded most of it in the form of a carved plaque (fig. 8), rationalizing and clarifying the details, which had become in part somewhat weathered on the cave wall.
The Waverley district has yielded a considerable number of archaic and enigmatic forms and motifs in material culture but nothing unequivocally diagnostic 11 has come to light. Horowhenua, in a single instance, has yielded an artifact of bone of choice workmanship and problematical use with fan-form ornamentation in high relief (Horowhenua, p. 100 and fig. 112), but as already pointed out a connection between the Horowhenua artifact and the Kohi Cave design-element is the rather tenuous one of the uniqueness of general fan-form motif in the New Zealand area.
An extremely rare type of stone pendant (fig. 7d) morphogenically related to the usual symmetrical variety of the chevroned pendant was obtained from an ancient burial ground at Waitotara (Hamilton, Maori Art, (1900), p. 414 and figs. 4 and 6). It has the form of an elongated isosceles triangle, frontally ridged and with an outward-curving lower tip, and a projecting human head near the - 20 upper end. The frontal edge of the piece has the serial transverse notching, set out above as criterion (j) for a Waitaha origin. Further support for this is the form of the very exotic face of the projecting head on this pendant, beetling brows and, especially, the curious mouth, both of which features are duplicated in the terminal face of the elongated mere-like weapon from the Waitaha Burial No. 3, Otororoa Ridge, Horowhenua dune-belt (see Horowhenua, pp. 70-71, and fig. 63).
Turning now to other objects bearing the serial transverse corner notching (criterion (j)) we have typical examples of various types from the coastal region of western Wellington. There is the Waitotara pendant just referred to (fig. 7d). From the same site is recorded (Hamilton, op. cit.), a small “triangular,” ridged pendant (fig. 7e) with two holes for suspension (as in the other Waitotara pendant and in the Horowhenua chevroned pendant) with the serial notching on the lateral edges. Serial notching occurs on all six projecting adges (two frontal and four lateral) of the unique rectilinear-patterned pendant fragment from Midden No. 9, Horowhenua dune-belt (Horowhenua, p. 47 and fig. 9). With the criteria now available, this and the other notched amulets can be placed quite definitely in the material culture of the ancient Waitaha. Incidentally, the notched pendant from one of the older series of middens of Horowhenua furnishes additional evidence of the Waitaha origin of those middens.
Another recently recorded artifact, a fishing-line or net sinker, with serial notching, was unearthed at Titahi Bay (Rolston, J.P.S., Vol. 57, No. 4 (1948), p. 305). An interesting point was that it lay close to a human skeleton, the body being buried in the crouched attitude (criterion (c), above). Titahi Bay had furnished previously-determined Waitaha material, viz., a typical “hog-backed” type IVA adze, an unfinished specimen of unsurpassed chipping technique (see Horowhenua, p. 77 and fig. 66). Criterion (c)—the crouched method of human burial—and the notched sinker thus provide cumulative evidence of former Waitaha occupation of this locality.
The “spool”-type of necklace-unit (criterion (g)—see fig. 7g) is not unknown from the coastal region of western - 21 Wellington, though it appears to be rare. The present writer and contemporary collectors of his acquaintance were never fortunate enough to come across these objects in the numerous prolific sites of the Horowhenua district, nor did R. Rolston unearth any during his systematic digging of the “Mangaroa” pa-mound. It is recorded by Skinner (J.P.S., Vol. 43, No. 2 (1934), p. 109), however, that Elsdon Best stated that he had seen a set of small-sized units, made of basalt, in private hands in the Porirua district; these were presumably discovered locally. Another local site is recorded in a tabulated list by Duff 12 showing the New Zealand-wide distribution of “spool” necklace-units. Apparently no details are available, since the reference is: “West Wellington, one unit, stone,” but the accompanying distribution map indicates that the place was to the north of Porirua Harbour, possibly in the region of Waikanae.
The “hog-backed” triangular adze and associated subtypes (type IV, A, B, and C) undoubtedly belong to the prehistoric archaeology of western Wellington. Specimens of type IVA are now known from: Burial No. 7, Otororoa Ridge, Horowhenua; Weraroa, Levin; Te Mahi, Manakau; Paremata Flat, Porirua Harbour; Titahi Bay; and eastern Miramar, Wellington. Type IVB is known from: Burial No. 2, Otororoa Ridge; Heatherlea, Levin; “Mangaroa” pa-mound, Lake Horowhenua (3 specimens); Raumatangi Block, Hokio, Levin; Okaka Ridge, Manakau; Pakakutu, Otaki; and Plimmerton. Type IVC is known only from Heatherlea, Levin. Other adze types less certainly but probably also referrable to the same culture occur in appreciable numbers but details have not yet been fully worked out.
The chevroned pendant recorded by the writer from Ancient Burial No. 3, Horowhenua dune-belt, is the only specimen so far found in the southern and central part of the North Island. The nearest known pendant of this type is that from the Mercury Bay cave, at Coromandel Peninsula (Horowhenua, p. 120, and map, fig. 117). The only other North Island example is the highly specialized Whangamumu specimen. In addition, of course, there is the celebrated Kaitaia carving, the piece par excellence exhibiting - 22 the pierced chevron pattern. On this evidence, following the writer's thesis of prior Waitaha occupation of the North Island, the Horowhenua chevroned pendant (criterion f) is directly linked to the ancient culture of North Auckland. Nor is this the only evidence of such a link. The burial chest from the bed of Lake Horowhenua (see Horowhenua, p. 95, and plate 6) has no counterpart, so far as the writer is aware, nearer than the famous antique wooden coffins peculiar to North Auckland. Despite some obvious differences in construction and elaboration, the presence of a carved funerary mask on the upper end of the receptacle in both cases, with such affirmative clues as identical form of at least two facial features, viz., the nose and the mouth, can hardly be dismissed as mere coincidence. The dissimilar treatment of the eyes, bulbous convexities filling the eye-sockets in the Auckland examples, but with central pegs in the Horowhenua one, indicates a deviation in this respect from the presumed earlier northern form. But the same local (i.e., Horowhenua) treatment of eye-form occurs in another local carving, next to be cited, which has even stronger detail similarities to unique examples of formative art or symbolism from North Auckland. Comparison is invited of the carved ko head shown as fig. 74 in the present writer's Horowhenua with the Doubtless Bay canoe-prow (fig. 7h, herewith), also the Awanui slab, described and figured by Archey in Records of the Auckland Institute and Museum, Vol. 1, No. 4 (1933), plate 38, and plate 39, fig. 1. In the canoe-prow referred to the naturalistic treatment of the ears, the indication of the nostrils, the massive conical, tusk-like teeth, the rounded form of the head, and, especially, the presence of the very unusual projecting processes, plentiful in the Auckland examples but reduced in number in the Horowhenua one—these are repetitive features too significant to be lightly dismissed. A less subtle link with North Auckland is the presence of lumps of deeply weathered and partially perished kauri-gum in at least one of the Waitaha middens of the Horowhenua dune-belt.
PERIOD OF ANCIENT WAITAHA IN HOROWHENUA.
In his recent publication, Horowhenua, the writer has briefly recorded evidence of a former shoreline, or more correctly, a series of shorelines, now well inland from the - 23 modern beach of the Horowhenua coast. The area supplying the clearest evidence is located between Lake Horowhenua and the sea. In this area shell-middens of two age-belts can be distinguished—a recent outer, and an ancient inner belt—with a hiatus of ten to fifteen chains between the two. The outer midden belt lies behind the present fore-dune and extends back from it for a distance of 80 to 100 yards. These middens are attributed to the local Muaupoko tribe, and accumulated as the result of a phase of their food-gathering operations up to something under one hundred years ago.
The older middens (e.g., figs. 9, 10, and 11) are scattered over a belt extending from 20-25 to 100 chains inland. Evidence has been given (op, cit., and in the present paper) for the conclusion that these older middens should be assigned to the ancient Waitaha, proved earliest inhabitants of the territory. No well-defined earliest shoreline of human occupation has left its mark, but on the basis of a proper relationship to the innermost of the ancient middens, that shoreline has been placed hereabouts at 65-70 chains inland from the present one.
The advance of the present shoreline by uplift and progradation has been shown by recent surveys to have taken place at Waitarere and Waikawa, but no actual figures of the rate of advance are available. The assumption of an advance of about two feet per annum has been adopted as a conjectural approximation to the actual rate of progression.
In the publication cited, the final Waitaha shoreline of about twenty chains inland, with progradation at the rate of about two feet per annum, was assessed at 600-800 years earlier, that is, prior to 1800 A.D., the approximate terminating date of the Muaupoko independent sovereign occupation and thus the terminating date of the main mass of their midden accumulations within the line of the foredune of the present or near-present shoreline.
Turning to the antiquity of the earliest Waitaha shoreline, 65-70 chains inland, a calculation on the same basis as the above, gives a date of 2,100 years ago, which may be deemed excessive. The date of 1,000 A.D. for the termination of the Waitaha occupation of Horowhenua, i.e., about 300 years prior to the advent there of the Muaupoko (a - 24 pre-Fleet people), appears to fit into the pattern of known occupations of the area fairly well, since it allows the period of 300 years for the intervening Ngatimamoe occupation. On the other hand, the incoming date of the Waitaha (put at 1,300 years earlier = 300 B.C.) is open to the objection that this seems too lengthy a period for their sojourn in Horowhenua, but apart from this a very early date for them is by no means unlikely. It is evident that values on which calculations can be based are indeterminate and have been, almost certainly, variable; for example, the rate of shoreline advance may have altered from time to time over the period as the result of fluctuations in the processes of progradation and/or the rate of orogenic uplift.
The chief geological, also an ethnological, interest in the two series of midden-defined shorelines of Horowhenua is the presence in one of them of transported pumice and the complete absence of it in the other. No trace of pumice, either in the form of natural fragments or of manufactured artifacts, occurs in the ancient Waitaha middens. The Muaupoko midden-belt, on the other hand, lies upon a band, parallel to the present beach, of a sand formation heavily charged with water-worn lumps of pumice of all sizes from small pebbles to boulders a foot or more in diameter. Pumice artifacts also occur, including disk-shaped net-floats and rubstones.
The significance of this pumice-deposit, confined as it is to a band parallel to and not far inland from the present shoreline, was brought to the writer's notice by Mr. C. A. Fleming, Geologist and Palaeontologist, N.Z. Geological Survey (personal communication). During his field work in the Wanganui area he had noted a late pumice deposit which he had ascribed to material derived from the great Taupo Shower deposit of the central plateau of the North Island.
The transport of pumice debris in enormous quantities, far exceeding in amount material derived from the inland deposits by current stream erosion, was considered good evidence of the distribution of the material by the larger rivers draining from the interior during the progress of the Taupo pumice eruptions. The Wanganui River, for example, was at that time so choked with floating pumice that masses of it became stranded on the lower ground on its lower - 25 course. Immense quantities reached the sea and were cast up on, or became water-logged and were buried in, the sea beaches washed by the southward-flowing littoral marine current.
The spreading of the drifted pumice and its incoporation in shore and in inshore deposits provides a valuable “marker” or horizon of fixed position, by means of which other geological deposits as well as both buried and surface ethnological material can be dated, at least as definitely as “pre-pumice,” “post-pumice,” or as “Taupo pumice,” in age. The pumice horizon has already been traced to and identified at Paekakariki, 13 at Porirua Harbour, and at Titahi Bay, and there is a likelihood that it will ultimately be recognized even farther afield.
The Paekakariki coast recently supplied some new ethnological data. The Waitaha occupation of Horowhenua has been shown to be pre-pumice; the Muaupoko period post-dated it. At Paekakariki there is now evidence of a native occupation at the time when the outwash product of the last of the Taupo pumice eruptions was in process of deposition along this coast. At Paekakariki the pumice deposit consists of a thick bed of water-laid pumiceous sand full of pumice pellets and containing bands of pumice pebbles. It is overlain by pumiceous blown sand, and underlain by the Otaki sand, the non-pumiceous sand which forms the well-known sandstone upland of the Horowhenua district. Within the Taupo pumice water-laid sand at Paekakariki and twenty-three inches above its contact with the Otaki sand, a layer of twelve inches contains in one place several short lines or thin lenses of shells of edible marine mollusca and fire-made splinters of burnt greywacke cobbles—the re-wash of midden debris of an early human occupation. No artifacts or other evidence has so far been obtained to establish the identity of these people. Surface middens and Polynesian ovens of say one hundred years ago were in position, and were seen and examined by the present writer in 1933, on the present site of the “Centennial Inn” (situated on the main highway a mile south of - 26 Paekakariki village). The traces of inter-pumice middens now recorded occupy a position intermediate in time between those of the recent local Maori tribes and the pre-pumice middens of the Waitaha. It may reasonably be inferred, and adopted as at least a tentative hypothesis, that the midden material within the pumice deposit at Paekakariki could be attributed to the Ngatimamoe.
In conclusion the writer wishes to express his thanks to Mr. C. A. Fleming, of the New Zealand Geological Survey, for helpful discussion on the short-time and special origin of the transported pumice, and on the implications of its presence as a horizon-marker; also to Mr. C. H. Hyde, of Plimmerton, for permission to examine his Paremata Flat collection of native artifacts, etc., and for supplying the excellent series of drawings (fig. 5a-i) of salient items included in it.- 27 - 28 - 29 - 30 - 31
FIG. 5, a-i.- 32
Selection of artifacts from Paremata Flat middens, recently laid bare. Situation: site No. 31, map fig. 6.
FIG. 6.- 33
Map of the coastal region of western Wellington showing distribution of finds of artifacts of archaic and rare types.
FIG. 7.—Artifacts of archaic and rare types: a-g, from coastal region of western Wellington; h, from North Auckland.- i
FIG. 8.- ii
Part of the Kohi Cave mural, near Waverley. Carved copy by the late L. S. Mackie, of Otakeho.
1 Horowhenua: Its Maori Place-names and their Topographic and Historical Background, by G. Leslie Adkin. Wellington, Department of Internal Affairs. Polynesian Society Memoir, No. 26. 1948.
2 Skinner, H. D., “Maori Adzes from the Murihiku Region, New Zealand.” Proceedings of the Third Congress of Prehistorians of the Far East. Singapore, 1938.
3 For description of the ancient pa-site at Mangaroa, see Horowhenua, pp. 33 and 221-230.
4 Vol. 53, No. 4 (1944), pp. 163-174; Vol. 56, No. 3 (1947), pp. 256-265; Vol. 57, No. 4 (1948), pp. 279-300.
5 Written in this form this name is intended to signify, not a mere tribal division but a particular people and their culture. In the same way, the name Waitaha, as used by the present writer, relinquishes any restricted tribal significance it originally may have had, and becomes the generic term for a particular people and culture.
6 See Donald A. Mackenzie's Ancient Men in Britain, p. 14 (1922).
7 Hamilton (Maori Art, p. 181) states that spears barbed with sting-ray spines were formerly in use. He also states that he himself once found at the old pa of Paremata (situated on the eastern side of Paremata Flat) a set of 46 sting-ray spines lying in position, but the wooden shaft to which they had been fastened had since rotted away. He records that spears barbed with these spines were used by the Ngati-Mamoe in the South Island. It is possible that the occurrence of spears of this kind would serve as a criterion of former Ngatimamoe culture and occupation.
8 Duff, Roger, “Moa-Hunters of the Wairau.” Records of the Canterbury Museum, Vol. V, No. 1 (1942).
9 Williams, H. W., “The Maruiwi Myth.” J.P.S., Vol. 46, No. 3 (1937), pp. 105-122.
10 George, P., “A Maori Stone Dagger [etc.] from the Nevis.” J.P.S., Vol. 46, No. 3 (1937), p. 126 and fig. 2.
11 An archaic treatment of the human eye in carving (as a strongly convex surface filling the whole of the eye-cavity) as in the representation of a face carved on an ancient canoe-baler from Monck's Cave, “a prehistoric cave-dwelling” (Hamilton, Maori Art, p. 60 and plate), is notably the same as the treatment of the eyes of a “god-stick” obtained from a lake near Waverley (Downes, J.P.S., Vol. 41, No. 1 (1932), figs. 9, 12 and 13). Exactly simialr eye-treatment occurs in the funerary masks of the old wooden coffins of North Auckland caves (see Best, The Maori, Vol. 1, p. 218; and Vol. 2, pp. 9 and 36). The Waverley area thus has ancient cultural links with the North Auckland region and with the prehistoric moa-hunter culture of the South Island.
12 Duff, R., Records of the Canterbury Museum, Vol. V, No. 1 (1942), Appendix 1, p. 49.
13 A paper by the writer from the geological angle was read before the Wellington Branch of the Royal Society of New Zealand, 11 August, 1949, and has been submitted for publication.