First Footsteps

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First Footsteps: Insights into the Earliest Settlers of the Western Bay of Plenty. Warren Gumbley, n.d., NZ Historic Places Trust, Wellington.

ISBN 978-0-908577-86-6


From the preface:

"Early settlement of New Zealand by Polynesians focused on river and harbour mouths where access by sea and to a wide range of resources could be found. Very quickly, within 100-200 years the descendents of these colonisers began to move their settlements away from these places into the surrounding countryside. From archaeological evidence, the need lo find soils and climates suitable to grow their crops, particularly kumara but also taro, was a major motivation. Papamoa, and other areas around Tauranga Harbour, were among the first to be occupied during this process; not only in the Bay of Plenty, but New Zealand wide.

Because of this the Maori/Polynesian occupation of the dune plain at Papamoa is one of the earliest landscapes to feel the effect of the change and adaptation of tropical island Polynesian culture to New Zealand's climate and ecology. One of the main themes in New Zealand archaeology is understanding this process of change and adaptation of the gardening of tropical food plants to match the limits of our climate. The archaeological evidence from Papamoa shows how this adaptation was pursued."