Story: West Coast region

Kawatiri archaeological excavation

Kawatiri archaeological excavation

Excavations at the Kawatiri archaeological site, near the mouth of the Buller River, indicates that people were living close to Westport by the early 14th century. The photographs show a general view of the site when a University of Otago team started excavation (lower), and a more detailed view of part of the site when it was opened up (above).

Excavations at this site have revealed a number of adzes and flaked tools from a variety of sources, including obsidian from Mayor Island in the Bay of Plenty, baked argillite (adzite) from Nelson, and pounamu (greenstone) from the Arahura valley. It is clear that there was considerable exchange among Māori of different stones suitable for making tools.

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University of Otago
Photographs by Richard Walter

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Images reproduced courtesy of Te Runanga o Ngati Waewae

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How to cite this page:

Simon Nathan, 'West Coast region - Māori exploration and settlement', Te Ara - the Encyclopedia of New Zealand, (accessed 6 December 2021)

Story by Simon Nathan, updated 1 Sep 2016