Farmer finds a piece of history
Adze likely to pre-date Europeans
When Tututawa farmer Richard Condon saw a stone object lying on the ground he picked it up for a closer look, and quickly realised he was holding a piece of history in his hand.
Richard noticed it last November as he was walking along a farm track which was being upgraded for logging access and as he looked at it, he realised it wasn’t just a piece of stone.
The stone was a pre-European stone adze, and Richard’s discovery means it has now been returned to Ngati Ruanui for safekeeping.
Richard contacted forestry contractor Morris Fisher as he knew they had been doing some logging in the area. Morris contacted the iwi who asked him to take it to Ivan Bruce, an archeologist based in New Plymouth.
Ivan identified the piece of stone as being a half adze made of argillite.
Morris kept the adze wrapped in a beanie to keep it safe until it could be returned to the iwi.
“I felt it was something really special, that shouldn’t just be left lying around.”
He says the adze must have been uncovered by the work being done in the area.
“But it can’t have been buried too deeply as the work being done was simply improving the track, not digging deep into the soil.”
On December 20 last year, the adze was formally returned to Ngati Ruanui at a ceremony and blessing in Stratford.
Kaumatua Sandy Parata, accompanied by three other kaumatua, Jim Turahui, Wikitoria Parata and Teoiroa Luke, received the adze which had traditional and Christian karakia spoken over it as part of the ceremony.
Sandy said the karakia was to cleanse it as it had just been discovered, and to bless those who had handled it.
Sandy said on first inspection the adze looked to have been made by a ‘top craftsman’ but he was not sure yet as to what it may have been used for.
“Perhaps food preparation, a tool as some sort, not a weapon, but we don’t fully know yet.”
Sandy said they would visit the site where the adze was found in the near future to determine what may have been there in the past.
While the adze has now been returned to iwi for safe keeping, a Ngati Ruanui spokesman said its long-term future was yet to be determined, and they were working with Heritage New Zealand to find out more of the history of the piece and decide where it should be kept.
BLESSING: Jim Turahui, Sandy Parata, Wikitoria Parata and Teoiroa Luke of Ngati Ruanui with the recently discovered adze in front of them.
A LITTLE PIECE OF HISTORY: The argillite half adze, found in Tututawa last year.