Archaeological investigations before and during construction are helping to piece together strong evidence of the importance of the Kāpiti Coast to Maori as a trading route and source of kai (food). Huge middens (shell heaps) and cutting tools made of non-local materials are among the finds. Also, a giant totara log has been discovered in peat at the Peka Peka end of construction. It has been given back to local iwi to be carefully dried and carved.
Archaeological monitoring is happening throughout construction. The project archaeologist and an iwi representative of Te Atiawa ki Whakarongotai, which has tribal jurisdiction of the project area, are present whenever the project breaks new ground. All artefacts are sent to the University of Otago to be analysed, catalogued and photographed before being returned to iwi. More information on archaeology can be found in the supporting information to the Assessment of Effects (external link) .
Historic photo 1: Wellington and Manawatu Railway bridge over Waikanae River. 1845-1893 (Levin, William Hort)
Historic photo 1: North Coast, Cook Strait – from Horokiri Pass, Kapiti (1846) (Collinson, Thomas Bernard)