Mys­tery over work­ers’ odd­ball find


Work­ers on the mas­sive Trans­mis­sion Gully road pro­ject have un­earthed what is be­lieved to be amid-19th cen­tury ship’s can­non­ball.

The 53kg sphere is about 25cm in di­am­e­ter and was found in the head­wa­ters of the Horokiri Stream site. Pro­ject ar­chae­ol­o­gistMary O’Ke­effe said the ball had ‘‘the ex­act di­men­sions of balls used in huge can­nons mounted on ships around the mid-19th cen­tury’’.

‘‘How it ended up in the creek is a big mys­tery.’’

Ini­tial thoughts turned to 1846, when Crown troops at­tacked the pa of Ngati Toa leader Te Rangi­haeata and his peo­ple at Matai Taua (Pau­ata­hanui) and Bat­tle Hill.

‘‘But the can­non­ball was found some 2km from Bat­tle Hill and any­way there are de­tailed records of the guns used there. They fired balls only around a tenth of the weight of this one,’’ O’Ke­effe said.

An ex­clu­sion zone was set up when the ball was found, po­lice and an army bomb dis­posal unit were called in, and Ngati Toa iwi was no­ti­fied. The can­non­ball is likely to end up in PatakaMu­seum.

The 53kg can­non­ball found by Trans­mis­sion Gully work­ers in the head­wa­ters of the Horokiri Stream. Above, a bomb dis­posal ex­pert brought to the site as a pre­cau­tion.

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