Land owner Gary Smith at 1762 Awhitu Road, Pollok experienced the impact of a new law when he began excavation of his property. He invited George and Karl Flavell from the Ngate Te Ata Iwi to the site to observe the stripping of the topsoil in June 2015 thinking that if they found something of interest to the Iwi they would document or remove the items at their expense. Instead the site was shut down when two food storage pits, two fire remains and a garbage pit with some shells was discovered. I was then told to contact Heritage New Zealand who threatened prosecution for damaging a Historical site. The site was never deemed a historical site but only considered a potential one because it was on the Awhitu Pennisula. .
Apparently, all of the Awhitu Pennisula is potentially considered to have historical sites due to Maori having lived there at one time. Additionally, there are literally thousands of ruas (storage pits), garbage pits and fire pits on the Pennisula. Council then closed the site until I satisfied the conditions for the preservation of the “archaeological site”. This involved hiring an archaeologist who for $2800 wrote a report requesting that my “archaeological site” be put under the Authority of Heritage. They then quoted a figure of $6000 to professionally look at what had already been found but warned that additional charges at $145 for manditory monitoring of any additional search work and for report writing as well as to closely examine anything additionally found. This is all possible through the new act that was passed late 2014. MP Andrew Bayly said that they let this one slip by them. However, be prepared for huge expenses should you decide to uncover your topsoil. According to Heritage you are breaking the law unless you put your potential archaeological site under the authority of Heritage and the pay an archaeologist thousands of dollars to watch you remove the topsoil to view the earth underneath and thousands more to closely examine the findings.
I have enclosed the new act down below. Feel free to discuss this with Andrew Bayle MP or Bill Cashmere Counselman for Franklin District or the writer at 02040521762.
Under the Heritage New Zealand Pouhere Taonga Act 2014 clause 42, “Unless an authority is granted under section 48, 56(1)(b), or 62 in respect of an archaeological site, no person may modify or destroy, or cause to be modified or destroyed, the whole or any part of that site if that person knows, or ought reasonably to have suspected, that the site is an archaeological site.”