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Protecting our precious places

Poroporo midden

Poroporo covenant, one of three covenants on Tautane Station owned by Tapui Land Company Limited, is perched above sea cliffs five kilometres north of Cape Turnagain.

Protected by a QEII covenant in 2006, the 8ha of coastal karaka treeland is a rare and important landscape and cultural feature in the Tararua District.

Karaka landscape at Poroporo

Above: The karaka covenant stands out on top of the cliffs at Poroporo. Photo: Marie Taylor

MIdden at topof Poroporo bluffs

Above: A midden at the top of the Poroporo bluffs. Photo: Bill Wallace

Open Space™ Magazine No. 71, November 2007 © QEII National Trust

What is a midden?

Midden is an old English word for a household rubbish dump and this is the meaning used by archaeologists.

Middens are places where food remains, such as shellfish and animal bones, ash and charcoal from fires, and broken or worn out tools were thrown away, dumped or buried.

Middens can be of Maori, European or other origin.

Middens are one of the most common kind of archaeological site found in New Zealand.

How to recognise a shell midden

Shell middens can be found almost anywhere in coastal New Zealand and are usually made up of layers of shell and bone mixed with charcoal, ash and burnt stone.

They can be seen as low mounds and heaps or eroding from sand dunes, river banks or road cuttings.

For more about recognising and protecting middens visit New Zealand Historic Places Trust

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