Hu­man re­mains dis­cov­ered in park

Auckland City Harbour News - - YOUR PAPER, YOUR PLACE - MARY FITZGER­ALD

A coun­cil con­trac­tor has made a his­toric find in an east Auck­land park, with the re­veal of hu­man re­mains.

The ar­chae­o­log­i­cal find oc­curred close to Orakei Do­main, dur­ing re­pair work on Okahu Bay’s pump sta­tion on May 3.

The dis­cov­ery was next to Ngati Whatua Orakei’s ceme­tery on Ta­maki Drive in Okahu Bay.

A coun­cil con­trac­tor un­earthed the hu­man re­mains while re­pair­ing the pump sta­tion fol­low­ing Cy­clone Deb­bie’s storm dam­age and flood­ing.

Ngati Whatua Orakei rep­re­sen­ta­tive Sharon Hawke said coun­cil ar­chae­o­log­i­cal in­ves­ti­ga­tors es­ti­mated the re­mains pre-dated the in­stal­la­tion of Ta­maki Drive in 1932.

‘‘This is an­other re­minder of our re­cent his­tory and that the road was built over the bones of our peo­ple,’’ Hawke said.

The un­ex­pected find oc­curred at ap­prox­i­mately 11.30am on May 3 and ini­ti­ated pro­to­cols re­lat­ing to the dis­cov­ery of hu­man re­mains.

The coun­cil con­trac­tor stopped work im­me­di­ately.

Agen­cies in­clud­ing Auck­land Coun­cil’s ar­chae­ol­ogy team, the po­lice, lo­cal iwi and Ngati Whatua Orakei were no­ti­fied im­me­di­ately af­ter the find.

Hawke said it was good that Auck­land Coun­cil had con­tacted Ngati Whatua Orakei swiftly fol­low­ing the find.

‘‘That meant we were able to en­sure the ap­pro­pri­ate cul­tural needs were at­tended to.’’

Ngati Whatua Orakei Re­serves Board deputy chair Des­ley Simp­son said she knew the dis­cov­ery must have been hugely up­set­ting for the wider Ngati Whatua Orakei fam­ily, she was pleased the find was re­ported quickly.

Af­ter a site visit and ar­chae­o­log­i­cal as­sess­ments, it was es­tab­lished that the re­mains were his­toric.

The po­lice de­ter­mined the find was not a mat­ter for them to be in­volved with.

Hawke said the re­mains be­longed to the iwi, but it is was un­known who specif­i­cally the per­son was.

On May 4 rep­re­sen­ta­tives from Ngati Whatua Orakei at­tended and blessed the site.

The iwi would con­sider the next steps in terms of rein­ter­ment of the hu­man re­mains.

Auck­land Coun­cil con­firmed sup­port would be pro­vided by coun­cil’s ar­chae­ol­ogy team and oth­ers to Ngati Whatua Orakei.


Ngati Whatua Orakei spokesper­son Sharon Hawke says it is good iwi were im­me­di­ately af­ter the ar­chae­o­log­i­cal find.

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