Cairns Keith

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Cairns, Keith Raymond 1925-1987

Keith Cairns
From McFadgen (2003:8):

"Keith Cairns was a Masterton resident with an active interest in Maori history. For more than 40 years he collected information about old Maori sites, very little of which was submitted to the New Zealand Archaeological Association Site Recording Scheme. In the early 1960s he wrote to nearly every farmer in the Wairarapa Valley asking for information about old Maori sites on their land ... and received hundreds of replies. Each reply was recorded, and some sites visited and given a map reference."

Cairns carried out a small number of excavations in the Wairarapa, as did his son Tony [1].

A collection of his papers are held at the Alexander Turnbull Library."

Some papers are also held in the Wairarapa Archive.

In his private life Cairns was a retail jeweller and later an insurance representative. His service in WW2 was in the RNZAF as an instrument fitter. He was awarded a Queens Service Medal in 1984 for his services to archaeology[2]. There is much biographic material at a genealogy website here.

There was an obituary to Keith in the 1988 NZAA Newsletter 31(1):8.


  1. Cairns, T.; Walton, T. 1992. Excavation of a midden (U26/24) on the Wairarapa coast. New Zealand Archaeological Association Newsletter 35(4): 220–227.
  2. Genealogy record at Accessed July 2010

Select Publications

Cairns, K.R. 1958. Hakikino Hill pa. Journal of the Polynesian Society 67(4):330-334. On line

Cairns, K.R. 1959. A hangi site at Glenburn. New Zealand Archaeological Association Newsletter 2(4): 26.

Cairns, K.R. 1961. Wairarapa District. New Zealand Archaeological Association Newsletter 4: 178–180.

Cairns, K.R. 1971. Rediscovering Wairarapa. Wairarapa Times Age 19 February 1971, p. 14.

Cairns, K.R. 1976. Report for the Historic Places trust on the Investigation of skeletal material examined on the property of Mr. J.B. McKenzie, Maungahina, R.D. Masterton (N159/17).

Cairns, K.R. 1981. Nga Tau e Waru centennial booklet 1881-1981 Te Ore Ore Centennial Committee. Masterton, New Zealand

Cairns, K.R. 1980. Radiocarbon dates from Okau excavation—Wairarapa. New Zealand Archaeological Association Newsletter 23(4): 269.

Cairns, K.R., and Lockerbie, L. 1980. Radiocarbon dates from Castlepoint. New Zealand Archaeological Association Newsletter 23(4): 268.

Cairns, K.R. 1982. Report for the Police Department, Masterton, on the investigation of Human Remains found on a hill north of the Mataikona River. Investigation conducted by Constable M. O'Donnell and K. R. Cairns, December 6, 1982 (N159/19)