One Tree Hill - Visit

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One Tree Hill/Maungakiekie

SITE TO VISIT
One Tree Hill
Maungakiekie
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Ethnicity: Maori
Site type: Pa
Where: Central Isthmus - 15 minutes from the city centre
How to get there: Bus (Check Rideline) or taxi.
How Long to allow: 2 hrs walking over the site following the archaeological trail. For the less fit there is a summit road.
Disclaimer

See also One Tree Hill



Location:

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What: Prehistoric Maori fortification and town built on a volcanic cone. There is an excellent visitor centre on the north slope of the cone with an interactive multimedia centre where you can find out more about Maori life. A digital reconstruction built onto a terrain model used in the centre is based on a detailed survey of the cone.

Reconstruction on the digital terrain model


What else to do there: The park also has Auckland's oldest building, Acacia Cottage (relocated here), a volcanic trail, a native tree arboretum, an astronomical observatory, a good kiosk for breakfast or lunch, great views from the summit.

Web Info: http://www.cornwallpark.co.nz/

Archaeological Background

R11/14, Maungakiekie Pa is one of the largest and most complex pa sites on the Tamaki Isthmus. The remnant volcanic cone is heavily terraced from summit to base. As Bulmer [1] has identified, the three peaks and two promontories were fortified with ditches and banks with garden and settlement terracing around its slope. Shell midden dot the slopes of the hill and can been seen eroding out in many locations. Stone features were also probably important on the site but the site has been modified over a number of years a number of features destroyed or damaged. The once heavily fortified summit was destroyed for the construction of the monument that has created the famous view of the hill. But other parts have been impacted up one water reservoirs, roads, construction of a WWII radio station and a golf course [2].

Only one professional archaeological excavation has been carried out so far at Maungakiekie. This investigation was carried out in 1979 as part of the renewal of the pipeline to one of the ARC reservoirs. A brief account of this work has been published [3]. The pipeline ran through four terraces, from the base of the hill on Olive Grove Road, to the reservoir. The terraces included a lower one was thought to be used as a garden while three higher ones contained more stratified deposits suggesting repeated use of a longer period of time. Large palisade posts were also identified along the outer edges of two of these upper terraces and shell found in one of these palisade posts.

This excavation has provided the only radiocarbon dates for this site. Shell dates were obtained from the most recent occupation near the lowest terrace gave a date range at one standard deviation to around 1555-1695AD (NZ7948) and matches another date from shell nearby on Terrace “3” (NZ7947). A slightly earlier date from the palisade posthole filled with shell gives a later date (NZ7946) of between around 1645-1800AD at one standard deviation[4].


The extent to which these three dates characterise the large and complex site that is Maungakiekie Pa is limited. As Bulmer (1980:27) notes, the dates fit well with traditional histories of the site[5], although it can be argued little more as the broad 150 years spans associated with the dates mask the highly dynamic nature of the site prior to European arrival.

The presence of the shell in the post hole suggests that midden post-dates the presence of the original fence or structure on that terrace and hints at the repeated use of the area (at least once). It is also important to note that the dates only come from one part of the whole site and we might expect variation across the site with further testing.


European History

In 1844, an Irish settler named Thomas Henry purchased 700 acres of land which included One Tree Hill. He started the work of collecting the volcanic rock and creating the stone walls. Henry’s financial situation though deteriorated and the “Mt Prospect” farm was sold to Brown and Campbell in 1853 who renamed the summit One Tree Hill. The hill itself was not included though in the new estate as Governor Grey had declared in a public reserve. The estate was farmed until 1896 when it was split until 13 leases. In 1901, the Park was donated to the Nation by Logan Campbell and as the leases expired during the early 20th Century, the Park was opened up to the public. The heritage features associated with the Park date from Henry’s time and include the stone features and particular the walls, as well as the extensive plantings. Acacia Cottage was moved into Cornwall Park in the 1920s due to its association with Sir John Logan Campbell who lived in it himself for about 4 years before various employees used it[6]. The original location of Acacia Cottage was subject to archaeological investigations in 1983 when its original site in O'Connell Street in Auckland’s CBD was redeveloped[7].

External Sources

You Tube Roadside Stories


References

  1. Bulmer, S. 1994. Sources for the Archaeology of the Maaori Settlement of the Taamaki Volcanic District. Science & Research Series No.63. Department of Conservation: Wellington.
  2. Bulmer, S. 1980. Archaeological Excavations at Maungakiekie (N42/6), Auckland. NZ Historic Places Trust.
  3. Bulmer, S. 1980. Archaeological Excavations at Maungakiekie (N42/6), Auckland. NZ Historic Places Trust.
  4. Bickler, S. and R. Clough 2009. Archaeological Assessment of One Tree Hill (Maungakiekie) Olive Grove Stone Wall Re-alignment. Unpublished report for Cornwall Park Trust.
  5. Bulmer, S. 1994. Sources for the Archaeology of the Maaori Settlement of the Taamaki Volcanic District. Science & Research Series No.63. Department of Conservation: Wellington.
  6. Maingay, J. 1983. A Preliminary Report of an Archaeological Investigation at the Alleged Site of Acacia Cottage, Auckland. Auckland, New Zealand Historic Places Trust 1983/2.
  7. Maingay, J. 1983. A Preliminary Report of an Archaeological Investigation at the Alleged Site of Acacia Cottage, Auckland. Auckland, New Zealand Historic Places Trust 1983/2.


Other

Fairfield, F.G. 1941. Maungakiekie or One Tree Hill, Auckland. Journal of the Polynesian Society 50(1): 92-104.

Fox, A. 1978. "Maungakiekie. The Maori Pa on One Tree Hill." One Tree Hill Borough Council and Domain Board.

Pearce, P. 1977. Simulated aspects of prehistoric attacks on One Tree Hill. NZAA Newsletter 20(1): 18-24.