Mahinepua Peninsula Scenic Reserve: Northland historic conservation

Introduction

The 14 archaeological sites on Mahinepua peninsula reflect a variety of activities, such as gardening, pa sites with terraces where huts and other structures were located, pits for storing crops and shell refuse from past meals.

Mahinepua peninsula has fourteen archaeological sites. The features of the different sites reflect a variety of activities, such as:

  • gardening
  • pa sites with terraces where huts and other structures were located
  • pits for storing crops
  • shell refuse from past meals.

One of these sites is a midden in Omiru Bay. Its contents represent an early occupation of this peninsula c. 1350AD.

A similar midden is located on Motukawanui Island of the Callavalli chain 10 km east of Mahinepua, representing some of the earliest settlers to New Zealand living in this region of the Whangaroa coastline.

Maori settlement

Maori intensively settled the coastline between Whangaroa Harbour and the Bay of Islands prior to European arrival and this is reflected in the numerous archaeological sites recorded in the area.

This coastline offered prehistoric Maori plentiful fishing grounds in relatively sheltered waters and small bays where canoes could be safely beached. A variety of shellfish would have been available on the sandy beaches and also along the rocky coast.

Kumara would have been cultivated on slopes and valleys as well as taro on the stream flats.

DOC's work

In 2009, the DOC historic team updated the site information, and recorded each individual feature of the different sites with a handheld GPS.

The image on the right shows a feature level map of pa site (P04/55) that is located along the Mahinepua track on the highest point of the peninsula.

The site was recorded using a Trimble Nomad GPS which allowed a post processed accuracy of 98% > 5 m. All GPS points are in New Zealand Traverse Mercator Projection, based on the NZ2000 Datum.

Visiting Mahinepua Peninsula

This is a stunning penninsua with views that encompass the Cavelli Islands to Karikari Penninsula. The track leads you over a well defined pa site as well as Māori gardening and food storage sites.

Getting there

Mahinepua Peninsua is located about 40 min drive north of Kerikeri. The track to the pa begins at the eastern end of Mahinepua Beach (end of Mahinepua Road, off Wainui Road on the coast north of Matauri Bay). Access around the coast is not possible due to tide and reef limitations.

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