Ngā Tohuwhenua Mai Te Rangi: A New Zealand Archeology in Aerial Photographs
This chapter covers the Coromandel Peninsula, the Firth of Thames, and the broad lowlands and west coast of the Waikato. The Waikato area is more or less defined by the Tainui description of their rohe: 'Mōkau ki ruaga, Tāmaki ki raro' (from the Mōkau River to Tāmaki). Tainui is a broad confederation, including among its member tribes Ngāti Maniapoto of the central Waikato. Among the important traditional sites of the region are Mounts Moehau, Taupiri, Pirongia and Maungatautari, and the Kāwhia and Aotea Harbours. Kāwhia is the final resting place of the Tainui canoe. This canoe landed at Whangaparāoa in the eastern Bay of Plenty, sailed to the Waitemata and Tāmaki, and was there dragged across to the Manukau Harbour. 1 Tainui and Aotea are the founding waka of the iwi of Waikato and Taranaki 2 respectively. The Aotea Harbour will occupy an important position in this chapter because of its well-preserved pre-European and nineteenth-century horticultural and agricultural landscape.
In pre-European times, Māori closely settled the Waikato region, especially on the coast and along the major rivers. Among the themes that may be more fully discussed with respect to Waikato and Coromandel sites are the history of archaeological research into changes in Māori culture over the millennium of settlement in New Zealand, gardening in inland regions prone to frost, mission settlements and early farming in the Aotea Harbour, and sites of the Waikato wars. Mercury Bay and the inner reaches of the Firth of Thames were important landing places in 1769 during the course of the Endeavour's voyage, and the pā, Wharetaewa, at Mercury Bay, was discussed in chapter 3.