As you walk around Punaruawhiti/Endeavour Inlet to Camp Bay, you are close to the water's edge. This is one of the few sections of track to have a close connection to the shoreline, making it a good place to imagine Māori living here in pre-European days.
Do you have an archaeologist's eye to recognise signs of tangata whenua/the first people who lived here?
For many generations of successive Māori tribes, Punaruawhiti/Endeavour Inlet was contested for its rich resources. The sheltered inlet with its many freshwater streams made excellent temporary campsites for resource gathering. Large quantities of fish were dried, birds preserved and medicinal plants collected.
Archaeologists look for items known to be used by Māori but not found here naturally. These include black, glassy obsidian, grey flint and green pounamu. They also look for argillite flakes, small pieces of rock chipped off during the process of forming or repairing a stone adze. A midden/rubbish dump is another sign, often exposed in a shoreline bank.
Finding large, complete objects is rare. One completely formed adze caused considerable interest when it was found in Endeavour Inlet by landowner Mr J McIllroy. Its shape, known as a hogback, is said to date from a very early period of Māori life in New Zealand.
Note that all historic remains are fully protected.
This argillite hogback adze found at Endeavour Inlet by landowner Mr J McIllroy in 1977 confirms that Māori frequented Tōtaranui/Queen Charlotte Sound during a very early period of human settlement.
Image: Canterbury Museum ©