20 Aug 2013

Coastline being monitored for uncovered taonga

6:49 pm on 20 August 2013

A Southland Runanga is monitoring the coastline to record and recover any taonga [treasures] or artefacts exposed by erosion.

Te Runanga o Waihopai noticed signs of significant erosion eight years ago at places including Tokanui River mouth, Waikawa and Curio Bay.

But the erosion has accelerated during the past two years, leaving ancient bones and other taonga exposed to the elements and at risk of being taken by the sea, or found by fossickers.

Southland Coastal Heritage Inventory Project co-ordinator Dean Whaanga says trained, volunteer kaitiaki [sky, sea and land guardians] are walking the coast where ancient taonga have been found.

They can't legally remove anything but if there is a risk something could go out in the tide, they notify the museum, take photographs and make a record of their findings.

If any member of the public finds anything along the southern coast, they should take it to the museum, which will contact the Waihopai Runanga, Mr Whaanga says.