Farmer finds a piece of his­tory

Adze likely to pre-date Euro­peans

Waikato News - - News - Ilona Hanne

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.

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