Art. XXV.—Further Notes on Moa Remains.
[Read before the Wellington Philosophical Institute, 24th February, 1877.]
A Great deal has been said and written to prove that the Moa was hunted and eaten by the present race of Maoris, and the reverse. Some of the papers, however, read before this Society during the last year, quite settle that question; proving beyond a doubt that the Moa-hunters were Maoris, such as we see about us at the present time. There is another point of some interest as yet unsettled, namely, what tribes hunted the Moa, and how they hunted him. I hope to be able to show who were the Moa-hunters in the vicinity of Cape Campbell. In a paper * read before this Society, about a year ago, on some Moa remains found near and on the Cape, I stated that up to that time I had not discovered any traces of Moa-hunters. I was afterwards fortunate enough to come upon some of their old ovens, so near the sea that it is probable that others have been washed away. Those which remain are situated on the sand-bar between Lake Grass-mere and the sea, near some ponds, and only a few yards from high-water mark. All the Moa bones found in these ovens were very much broken, and were chiefly leg bones of various kinds. I did not meet with a single head or sternum, and only a few vertebræ and parts of pelves. There were,
[Footnote] *“Trans., N.Z. Inst.,” Vol. VIIL., p. 95.
however, a considerable number of pieces of burned bone, and a quantity of bone earth, or ashes, so that it is probable that bones were often used for fuel. Mixed with the Moa bones were bones of the seal and dog, as well as a large quantity of fish bones, with pipi and other shells, and a few human bones; and, lying about in all directions, but near the ovens, were parts of bone fish-hooks, stone net-sinkers, needles of bone and stone, flakes of obsidian and flint, and stone adzes of various kinds. Examples of all of these are shown in the drawings, by Mr. Hamilton, which illustrate this paper; and it is to be observed that amongst them there is not a single bit of greenstone. From this omission I am led to believe that the Natives who here hunted the Moa were not acquainted with it. They were, no doubt, the first human inhabitants of the place, and were a hapu of the Ngatimamoe, who had worked their way down the coast from the Pelorus Sound, where, I am told, they first landed. After a time, they were either driven off or succeeded by the Ngatikahungunu, who were not Moa-hunters, and were in turn expelled by the Ngatitoa, under Te Rauparaha and other chiefs. These latter tribes had settlements all along the beach, from Lake Grassmere to Cape Campbell; and must at one time have lived there in considerable numbers. They also fought many battles along this part of the coast. Upon making an examination of their old cooking and camping places, I found a good number of stone tools of various kinds; many of them being of greenstone, and intended for a variety of purposes; and all of them are, as a rule, of much higher finish than those found with the remains of the Moa. Several of them were used for carving in wood; and an old Maori, named Kelly, living at Port Gore, near the Pelorus Sound, explained the uses of most of them to one of my sons a few months ago. Some of them are now, I believe, exceedingly rare, the Natives having ceased to make any since they became acqainted with the use of steel tools, and all are interesting, as serving to illustrate a chapter in New Zealand history now fast drawing to its conclusion.