Course Description

Course Name

New Zealand Archaeology

Session: VDNS3122

Hours & Credits

18 Credit Points

Prerequisites & Language Level

18 200-Level ANTH or ARCH points

Taught In English

  • There is no language prerequisite for courses at this language level.


Examination of past and recent research in archaeology of the New Zealand region (North, South, Stewart, Chathams and Subantarctic Islands), from initial human settlement until the recent past.

This paper offers students new and stimulating archaeological insights into the origins, development, identities and interactions of the M?ori, Moriori, and later settler peoples of New Zealand. Case studies range across the New Zealand archipelago, including the Chatham Islands. The course considers when, where, and how the first Polynesians and their accompanying plants and animals were transferred from the tropics into the colder lands of temperate New Zealand as well as the impacts of those new arrivals on New Zealand's native fauna and flora. We explore the ways in which society, economy, ideology, patterns of settlement and exchange developed as Polynesians first colonised the diverse New Zealand islands, from the subtropical far north to the subpolar south. We then consider the archaeology of the more recent historical past in New Zealand. We examine changes in M?ori culture, society and economy, the emergence of a distinctive P?keh? culture during the first half of the 19th century, and the post-1860s development of Kiwi culture that incorporates the gradually transforming traditions of M?ori, P?keh? and other immigrant groups.

Teaching Arrangements
Taught lectures, laboratories.

Course Structure
Primary themes:
- Archaeology of the first New Zealanders, including the emergence of Indigenous M?ori and Moriori peoples across varied and changing island landscapes
- Archaeology of M?ori, P?keh? and other immigrant groups from the late eighteenth century

Learning Outcomes
- Gain subject knowledge of core issues and case studies in New Zealand archaeology
- Improved understanding of the processes, impacts, interactions and identities associated with the human colonisation of New Zealand
- New appreciation and understanding of current specialist analysis in New Zealand archaeological research

Furey, L. & Holdaway, S. (ed.) 2004. Change Through Time: 50 years of New Zealand Archaeology. NZAA Monograph 26.

Campbell, M., Holdaway S.J. & Macready S. (ed.) 2013. Finding our Recent Past: Historical Archaeology in New Zealand. Auckland: NZAA Monograph 29.

*Course content subject to change