Pipitea Street, Wellington

Excavations were conducted at Pipitea Street, Wellington in June 2008. The site was in the vicinity of where Pipitea Pa (actually a fenced kainga) had once been located. The site has the potential to reveal activities associated with occupation of the pa and the transition to use for colonial houses. The land was divided into several properties and houses were built on the site in the mid-19th century, with more added in 1881 and the 1930s. 1860s house foundations were discovered, some of which demonstrated successive phases of additions to the building. Two brick-lined wells were uncovered on the site and numerous rubbish pits containing domestic refuse. Analysis of the artefacts and reporting on the archaeology is complete. Download full PDF report and data from the Lower North Island Reports page.

Two features were discovered that clearly pre-dated the early housing and may have been related to contact period Maori gardening activities. One was a very long pit with postholes rebated in its wall to support a roof. The other was a large (11.5 m x 4.5 m) rectangular soil feature a maximum of 220 mm deep. Its gravely soil fill suggests a garden soil. Soil, gravel and microfossil analyses were conducted on samples from both of these features to establish whether they had a gardening use. The grain size analysis of the soil samples showed that imported gravels had been added to soil, which is typical of Maori cultivation practice. The microfossil analysis was unable to indicate what plants were cultivated in these soils as no starch remains were found.

The site was occupied over a long period and features reflect many stages of use. The analysis of the material from the site and layout of features illustrates the transitions and development of this part of early Wellington over time.

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