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Maori pa site unearthed near Chch

Published: 6:29PM Friday December 14, 2007 Source: ONE News

A new development on the outskirts of Canterbury has unearthed hundreds of Maori artefacts dating back 500-600 years.

The Pegasus Town development 25 kilometres from Christchurch is now being recognised as a significant cultural and historical site in New Zealand.

Initially the site where the discovery was made was to be a golf course, but those plans have changed now to preserve the history that has been found there.

The find has excited anthropologists and cultural observers in New Zealand.

"It gives us the opportunity to stir the dust of our land and learn about our ancestors," says cultural observer Joseph Hullen.

The discovery, found beneath Pegasus Town's pump station, is part of a palisade of a fortified pre-Ngai Tahu pa.

"You can actually get this unique picture which is emerging... which is showing all of the archaeology in that landscape, so its really filling up the stories that we only have at oral traditions...but now we can do scientific tests and a whole range of interpretation which brings past history alive in that place," says Roger Fyfe of the Canterbury Museum.

Hundreds of artefacts have been found at the site including adzes, fish hooks, pounamu and it is one of only 70 known pa sites in the country.

The developers, Infinity Investment and Multiplex Group, are planning to build a whare taonga (museum) on site to show their new town's history.

"It is a significant area...we believe it's important to capture the culture that's here for everyone involved this community, the past community," says Infinity Investment CEO Bob Robertson.