After a month of intensive excavation, locals were proved correct when the so-called waka discovered in Puhoi was, in fact, confirmed to be a log.
The 17-metre long kauri tree trunk was discovered by contractors during piling on April 16 and work immediately stopped so archaeologists could investigate.
Initially they believed it be a partially constructed waka but after completely uncovering the object late last month this theory was discarded. Project archaeologist Dr Sarah Phear says the log was modified at some point, but their interpretation of this has changed.
“There is evidence of stones and rocks wedged into the wood to try and split parts off and cut edges, but they aren’t consistent with waka carving,” Dr Phear says. “There are branches and logs around the trunk that appear to have been placed deliberately, so it was likely being prepped for processing.”
Hokai Nuku spokesperson Gena Moses-Te Kani was satisfied with the interpretation that it was not a waka but requested that it be buried where it was found. Consequently, it has been put back a couple of metres from where it was discovered and work on the motorway has continued around it.