The following guidance has been drafted to assist Hawke’s Bay horticultural growers clearing silt from their properties, resulting from Cyclone Gabrielle.
This advice has been drafted to help growers appropriately manage anything that they accidentally discover as they are removing silt from their land. The flooding dramatically altered the landscape, and amongst other things, washed bones out of urupa/burial sites, and unearthed other previously buried taonga/treasures. This means you could come across something unexpected as you are removing silt.
To help reduce the chances of this happening, when you are removing silt from orchards and agricultural land, try to avoid removing existing underlying soil (i.e., digging below ground level) – this will help reduce the risk of any accidental discoveries.
If you do encounter something unexpected during silt removal, immediately stop and do the following:
- Secure the site around what you have found – providing a radius of at least 5 m around it
- Ensure that no food or drink is consumed or carried in the vicinity of the discovery (this is a tikanga observance)
- If you suspect the discovery is koiwi tangata (human remains), contact the NZ Police in the first instance by ringing 111
- If you find something that is not clearly human (or animal) remains, contact:
- Tangata whenua – Ngati Kahungunu Iwi Incorporated’s Environment and Natural Resources Unit in the first instance:
- (06) 876 2718, and then press 5
- Heritage New Zealand – Christine Barnet, Regional Archaeologist
- (04) 494 8323
- 027 217 8903
- Do not recommence work in the vicinity of the discovery until approval has been provided by Police or tangata whenua, or, if required, an archaeological authority has been obtained from Heritage New Zealand Pouhere Taonga.
This guidance about accidental discoveries should be read in conjunction with the Guidelines for the removal of silt from Cyclone Gabrielle affected properties prepared by EAM NZ Ltd for Horticulture New Zealand.
It is high-level guidance intended to help you manage your silt removal activity appropriately. For specific advice on particular fact scenarios, please contact your own advisors, or Charlotte Drury of HortNZ (in the first instance) on 027 3225595 or Charlotte.Drury@hortnz.co.nz.