Laser scan in progress (note white dots on tree trunk) and a dendroglyph in good condition (images: A. Ballance)
A team of University of Otago surveyors are working with the Department of Conservation and Chatham Island Moriori to collect detailed 3D laser scans of the tree carvings or dendroglyphs in the Haupupu Reserve. The 170 or so sacred carvings - known as manu moriori or rakau momori - are believed to be 200-400 years old, and are carved on living kopi, or karaka, trees. However many of the trees are dying, and the carvings are disappearing, so the detailed scans are a way of recording them for posterity. The University of Otago surveying team comprised Richard Hemi, Joseph Wright, David Shearer and Fraser Jopson (PDF), and the project also involved Ken Hunt from the Department of Conservation, and DoC historian Richard Nester.
3D digital scan of a dendroglyph, and scan in progress - the laser light is red (images: A. Ballance)
The book 'Manu Moriori - human and bird carvings on live kopi trees on the Chatham Islands' by Rhys Richard, is published by Paremata Press 2007, and is available from 73 Seaview Road, Paremata, Porirua 5024 for $40 (includes postage).
DoC's Ken Hunt and Richard Nester next to a fallen rotten tree with a carving that was scanned in the nick of time, and Richard Hemi next to a standing dead tree with several carvings (images: A. Ballance)