header gravesite

Extracts from the community meeting held on 30 April 2008 in which the archaeologist shared the results of the magenetometer reading and advised whether a possible gravesite had been found.


  • Residents from the community.
  • City Council appointed archaeologist, Mary O’Keeffe.
  • City Council Roading Engineer, Stephen Harte.

Mary O’Keeffe circulated a map showing dark shadings where the archaeologists magnetometer had read magnetic density in the soil. The larger dark shading suggested a hole with straight sides.

It was considered to be a possible grave site because it was in the vicinity of where older residents remembered a grave. It had straight sides. It was deep.

There was no other site on the Dr Bader’s reading that suggested a gravesite or other archaeology that needed to be checked further (e.g. house piles).


Ground truthing

Ground truthing was required to verify the site. Ground truthing would involve an electronic digger taking the overburden off. After the overburden was removed, there would be different coloured earth at which point Mary might begin hand digging. There might be timber and bones.

  • Bones would be exposed to determine jaw (maori or non maori) a pelvis (man or woman) and whether the person was an adult or child.
  • Notes would be taken of any other items in the site.
  • Site would be backfilled and a further meeting held with the community.


Could a Church Minister be present?

Yes, if the community arranged it.


Gravesite considerations

  • Is it in or out of the proposed road alignment?
  • Is it shallow and would it be damaged by earthworks on the route of proposed road?
  • Can it be fenced off without affecting the works?
  • Can the proposed road route be moved to avoid the site.


What if other items are discovered?

What happens if other items are found during earthworks e.g. old house site.

  • An archaeologist would be on site during earthworks.
  • Items found might be relating to farming history such as rubbish pits.
  • These would be photographed.
  • A small midden would not stop work but a large one could.
  • A grave would stop work.


What research has been undertaken by Mary?

  • LINZ report
  • Alexander Turnbull Library
  • Glenside website
  • Books by Carman, Louis Ward and the Glenside book from Onslow Historian
  • Mary will check Carman’s source notes held with Tawa Historical Society.
  • She would not search the Sports Post at Alexander Turnbull Library as this would take to long without a date to go by.