Maritime archaeology in New Zealand: trials, tribulations and opportunities

Dublin Core

Title

Maritime archaeology in New Zealand: trials, tribulations and opportunities

Subject

Session 8
Pacific Islands region: Building UCH Capacity

Description

New Zealand is an island nation that was initially settled via the sea firstly by Polynesian voyagers and later by a European maritime culture. These two groups traded and traversed in and along the coastline leaving considerable physical evidence of their seafaring ways. Today this maritime past is reflected in more than 2000 shipwrecks as well as numerous canoe landing sites, fish traps, inundated villages and sunken canoes.

Despite this wealth of underwater cultural heritage (UCH) and a strong legislative base for the protection of archaeological sites, maritime archaeology in New Zealand is significantly underdeveloped with no effective program for the management or protection of UCH. As a consequence the public of New Zealand rarely views shipwrecks and other UCH as sites that need to be protected. This lack of perceived value results in limited funding being available for the investigation or management of maritime archaeological sites and as such developmental pressures, commercial salvage and fossicking continue to damage this non-renewable resource.

Although these are major challenges there are still considerable opportunities for underwater archaeology in New Zealand. Increased awareness of underwater cultural heritage can be achieved by engaging the public in various ways such as through Australian Institute of Maritime Archaeology/Nautical Archaeology Society (AIMA/NAS) training courses. In addition, the global nature of New Zealand’s maritime trade means that there is enormous scope for international collaboration between researchers at a diverse range of organisations around the world. Such actions would help provide the impetus for capacity building and the eventual establishment of an effective maritime archaeology program in New Zealand.

Creator

Matthew Carter
Andy Dodd

Date

November 2011

Files

Citation

Matthew Carter and Andy Dodd, “Maritime archaeology in New Zealand: trials, tribulations and opportunities,” The MUA Collection, accessed December 13, 2017, http://www.themua.org/collections/items/show/1235.

Document Viewer