20 Jul 2012

Volunteers monitor cultural heritage sites

9:58 pm on 20 July 2012

Local volunteers are being trained this weekend to monitor cultural heritage sites surveyed along the Southland coastline.

The Kaitiaki Monitoring Programme: Murihiku project has already uncovered taonga, including the remains of humans and waka, elaborate adzes and jewellery, and moa bones.

It has also found sites dating back to 1300AD, when Maori first settled Murihiku.

Historic Places Trust officials say most of the 300 known heritage sites along the Southland coastline have been recorded since the 1960s.

The trust says that about half have been seriously damaged or lost since then, due to coastal erosion.

It says the best way to manage the loss is to monitor the sites, and gather as much information as possible.

The trust says the project means Southland's coastal heritage will be protected, and the local knowledge passed on to future generations.