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Explore a fascinating heritage site

This page contains information about the archaeology of Tawatawhiti and nearby Mair’s Landing, will be explored between 12 noon and 1pm on 8 April 2017.
Updated: 30/03/2017 9:09 a.m.

​Members of the public are invited to explore an historic spot just up from the Town Basin on 8 April. 

Stone and water have defined the area across the road from the Discovery Settlers Hotel and help to explain centuries of human settlement in the Whangarei area.  

On 8 April the archaeology of Tawatawhiti and nearby Mair’s Landing, will be explored between 12 noon and 1pm. Members of the public are invited to meet at a flag which will be set up on the riverside. Close by will be the first archaeological site along the 40-minute guided walk, the 1860’s coal chute from which was loaded coal from the Whau Valley mines. The coal was delivered to the coal chute by means of a horse drawn tramway. 

Along the walk organised by Heritage New Zealand Pouhere Taonga, archaeological sites will be pointed out, including the remnants of Maori gardening systems and later European features. 

Boats of all sorts, including waka, used the river and in 1842 a stone wharf was developed called Mair’s Landing.  

Heritage New Zealand historian Bill Edwards said the area had become a nautical  backwater since the Victoria Bridge was built across the upper end of the Town Basin in 1936, but it was a busy place for a very long time. 

Heritage New Zealand Pouhere Taonga is planning to list the Tawatawhiti-Mair’s Landing area  as a heritage site. First a report will need to be considered by HNZ’s board, and if it is approved, a public document will be released for comment before the site can be scheduled in Whangarei’s District Plan. 

This process was followed in 2015 when the Butter Factory was added to the Heritage New Zealand List. 

The walk and talk at Tawatawhiti-  Mair’s Landing coincides with New Zealand Archaeology Week which will also includes the following event: 

  • Hobson’s Choice: The Story of New Zealand’s First Colonial Capital. Public talk by Dr James Robinson. Russell Museum, April 1, 2pm. 

For more details on other New Zealand Archaeology Week events in Northland visit –National Archaeology. 

NB: If you plan to attend the Tawatawhiti-Mair’s Landing event, make sure you are able to walk 200meters and wear shoes suitable for walking in the bush



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