Go to National Library of New Zealand Te Puna Mātauranga o Aotearoa
Volume 34, 1901
– 562 –

The paper set forth minutely the details of the route to the caves, which are situated on the Makara Stream (not to be confounded, of course, with the better-known Makara near Karori), as well as careful measurements of the caves and fissures and fossil bones found therein. The locality is about sixteen miles from Martinborough, and the caves are found in what is known as the “Cliff Paddock,” a hill some 1,300 ft. high, with precipitous sides, rising from the stream. The stream itself appears to mark the route of a subterranean river. A stream issues from one of the caves, while in another place a creek plunges into a shaft and is lost to view. Moreover, after descending one of these pits, about 16 ft. deep, and winding along a narrow tunnel for some distance, the roar of an underground torrent was distinctly heard, but no access to the dark river was discovered. When the land was first occupied, some twenty years ago, the existence of the caves was unsuspected. The locality was covered by a forest so dense that, as the station-manager said, “a hawk could not have penetrated the undergrowth,” yet from the various caverns since exposed quite a cartload of moa-bones, some of large size, have been removed, and are now mostly distributed among settlers in the neighbourhood. The author gave precise and minute descriptions of eight separate caves, also of the fossil remains, stalagmites, stalactites, and other ordinary contents of such receptacles. In the vertical shafts the bones of sheep and cattle were found, as well as those of extinct birds. The moa-bones had not only been found in the form of skeletons, but lying piled at the angles and in the narrow portions of the caves, where they had been carried by water. Investigations of a gallery, which they had some hope would open into a larger chamber, has been checked by stalactite pillars 12 in. to 18 in. in circumference. Water was still oozing from the roofs of the caverns, and the solid lime was still being slowly deposited. One passage, about 3 ft. wide, the sides coated with much siliceous deposit, somewhat damaging to clothing and knuckles, was followed up for quite 100 ft., when it became too narrow to permit of further progress.