McKay Alexander

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Alexander McKay 1841 - 1917

McKay only published one archaeolgical paper amongst his many, but it gave rise to a famous dispute. He had been working on excavations in Sumner for Haast and disagreed with the interpretation Haast put on the findings. He published his views contradicting Haast's publication on the investigation.

This Dictionary of New Zealand Biography article covers briefly his early contribution to archaeology including his disagreement with Haast over moa hunters. DNZB

The dispute is covered in more detail in Yaldwyn et al (2006).

Bishop (2008) deals with the dispute and the effect it had on his relationships with other scientists and for a period on McKay's spririts. McKay wrote a poem Sumner Cave about the matter. It is reprinted in Bishop.

See also this National Library page: McKay

Bishop, G. 2008. The Real McKay The remarkable life of Alexander McKay, geologist. Otago University Press, Dunedin.

Yaldwyn, J, E Dawson and J Davidson. 2006. The First Ethical Controversy in New Zealand Archaeology: Joseph Hooker's Confidential Ruling on the Haast v. McKay Case. Archaeology in New Zealand 49(4):282-292.

Wikipedia has an article about:


1875. On the identity of the Moa-hunters with the present Maori race. Transactions of the New Zealand Institute 7:98-105.