The head of a Ngai Tahu runanga says an archaelogical dig of a moa hunter site in North Otago will rescue artefacts and animal remains that could provide more information about how the people in the area lived.
Te Runanga o Moeraki approached the Department of Conservation with concerns that the valuable archaeological material could be lost due to erosion at the mouth of the Awamoa Creek, south of Oamaru.
The Department of Conservation is leading a team of scientists who are excavating the site over the next couple of days.
Upoko (head) of the runanga David Higgins says the site is significant to whanau as it was a campsite for their ancestors.
Mr Higgins says they would have stayed there for a number of days or months whilst gathering food and resources in the area.
An Otago University scientist hopes the archaeological will provide more information about the effect early Maori had on marine animals.
University of Otago zoologist Nic Rawlence says he is hoping to uncover the remains of seals, sealions, shags and penguins, which will help to understand the impact that early Maori had on the animals when they arrived in New Zealand.