Discovery of human remains made in park
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 found 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 that 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 by council archaeological specialists, 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 iwi 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 contacted immediately after the find.