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The Settlement of Aotearoa: The First 100 Years

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  • Wed 21 Jun ’17, 10:00am – 11:30am


Neil Hunt Park, Tarawera Rd, Lynmore, Rotorua


All Ages

Ticket Information:

  • Free Admission


Rotorua U3A

The Polynesian Settlement of New Zealand: What Archaeological Discoveries Tell Us.

We hear in the news of what’s being discovered in the archaeological excavations at the Wairau Bar site, near Blenheim - said to be possibly the most important archaeology site in the whole of Polynesia.

Now we can hear in person from Professor Richard Walter who, as head of the University of Otago’s Department of Anthropology and Archaeology and director of the Southern Pacific Archaeological Research (SPAR), leads the project.

As a field archaeologist, Prof Walter works both in the tropical Pacific and in Aotearoa where his major work is in prehistoric colonisation and understanding the lifeways of the first Polynesian settlers as they adapted to the new lands.

He will be speaking about this to the Rotorua Branch of Royal Society of NZ on Tuesday, June 20 at 6pm at Scion and then to U3A on Wednesday June 21 starting at 10am. Doors open at 9.30am when refreshments are available.

His talk is titled: The Settlement of Aotearoa: the first 100 years.
Prof Walter’s team at the Wairau Bar site involves iwi and university-based researchers investigating the economy, material culture and biology of this first-generation community – people from tropical Eastern Polynesia (the Cook Islands and/or western French Polynesia) who settled here around 1320.

Through detailed DNA information and other analyses scientists have been able to reconstruct a face from a female skull, thus creating an image, known as ‘Auntie’, of what those ancestors looked like, as well as deducing their diet and their health. The skull was buried around 700 years ago and recovered at the site in 1939.

Further information extracted from the dig indicates this was the site of a large, wealthy village engaged in the making of and trading in adze.

This information contributes to Professor Walter’s understanding of the earliest settlement of this country. The public are warmly welcome to attend U3A’s Wednesday meeting for which a gold coin koha is requested.

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