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Local Students Discover Ahuahu

At Mercury Bay Area School, we chat with students Reuben, Maria, Jack, and Josie. They share a selection of their work which has used Ahuahu as a context for learning. You could think about places or landmarks near you that might form a key part of learning at your school.

Connecting Through Waiata

Listen to a performance of the famous Ngāti Porou anthem, ‘Paikea’. Also, hear from student Maia who explains the connection between Ahuahu and the ancestor Kahutia-te-rangi. This tupuna is better known as Paikea or ‘The Whale Rider’. You could explore waiata that you know and find out how these songs might relate to the people and land where you live.

Complete Your Biosecurity Check

James from the Department of Conservation takes us through a biosecurity check before the boat ride to Ahuahu. It is important we don’t take any unwanted critters, weeds and so on to the island. As you may have read in the background pages, Ahuahu is now pest free, so we all must try to keep it that way.

Boat Trip to Ahuahu

Sit back and relax (or should I say hold on tight!) for the journey to Ahuahu Great Mercury Island.

Archaeology at Coralie Bay

You are at Coralie Bay, Ahuahu. This site has been a focus of archaeologists for several years. It is one of the earliest sites of Māori occupation in Aotearoa. Louise Furey describes some of the key features of this site and why it would have been a favoured site for early Māori.

Gardening on Ahuahu

You are at Waitetoke on Ahuahu Great Mercury Island. Here you can see rows of stones that show early kūmara gardens. Louise Furey explains more about this style of gardening and gives further evidence to prove that gardens on Ahuahu are among some of the earliest in New Zealand.

Evidence in the Landscape

You are now at Matakawau, also known as Stingray Point Pā. Louise Furey shows how archaeologists look for irregularities in natural land formations. This can show them how people have altered the land and the likely reasons for this. In the video and you will get a better idea of the sorts of features archaeologists look out for. These features provide clues for how the land was used. They can also show likely areas for further excavation that might uncover further evidence.

Stone Artefacts

Back at the shearers’ quarters on Ahuahu, Louise shows you some stone artefacts. Māori used a lot of stone for tools in their daily lives. You will see examples of the different stone materials, as well as how a raw piece of basalt gets shaped into the smooth shape of an adze.

Rodent Detection Dogs

Meet Sassy the rodent dog. Sassy has been trained to sniff out rats and mice. Watch Sassy in action and hear from dog handler Greg van der Lee about the valuable role she plays keeping islands like Ahuahu pest free.

Getting Rid of Weeds

Travel to Peach Grove on Ahuahu and find out about moth plant. This climbing, strangling plant is a plant pest for many reasons. Find out some of the reasons why we must continue the war on weeds. You could think about getting involved in a weeding project near you.

Keeping Pests Off Ahuahu

All around Ahuahu you can see trap boxes. Even though there are no rodents or mustelids on the island, there is always a chance that one of these pests could make it ashore. How do the trap boxes work? What is a tracking tunnel? Greg van der Lee from DOC explains this “first line of defence”.

Conserving Ahuahu for the Future

Louise Furey from Auckland Museum and Greg van der Lee from DOC share their thoughts about the future of Ahuahu. What role will archaeology play going forward? How will conservation evolve in our changing world?

Video question sheet for schools Word (31k) | PDF (217k) | Google Doc to use for each video (based on SOLO Taxonomy).