Waihou Journeys: The Archaeology of 400 Years of Maori Settlement

Caroline Phillips

‘. . . takes into account scientific data and oral traditions, and is precisely the type of synthesis awaited by the indigenous inhabitants of the Pacific. Furthermore, by achieving the synthesis of over 70 years of often-unpublished excavations, the author also concludes a long awaited work in the archaeological history of New Zealand. These two points make the book a cornerstone not only for New Zealand, but, as the author correctly states in her conclusion, for the whole Pacific.’ – Christophe Sand, Asian Perspectives


As the Waihou river wends its way across the Hauraki Plains to the Firth of Thames it passes through an immensely rich archaeological landscape. This land was the birthplace of many of New Zealand models of Māori culture history, ideas that now date back 40 years and that have scarcely been questioned since.

Waihou Journeys is an investigation of the Hauraki Plains that sheds light on the fundamental assumptions of New Zealand archaeology. Using a ‘landscape’ approach it draws together Māori oral history, European accounts, environmental reconstruction and archaeological excavation and analysis to build up a picture of Māori social and cultural change over 400 years. While the focus of the study is a particular geographical location, its comprehensive treatment makes it a radical and refreshing approach of interest to a variety of readers.



Dr Caroline Phillips is a consultant archaeologist nearly 50 years of field experience. She was for many years the cartographer in the Anthropology Department at The University of Auckland. During this time she pursued her love of archaeology on digs and undertook surveys for the Historical Places Trust. She backed up this practical work with academic qualifications, gaining her MA in 1987 with a thesis on the Karikari Peninsula, and her PhD in 1994 with work on the Waihou River, on which her book Waihou Journeys is based. Phillips has lectured at The University of Auckland and directed many of the Archaeology Fieldschools. She lives in the bush in the Waitakere Ranges.


October 2000, 297 x 210 mm, 150 pages, illustrations
Paperback, ISBN 9781869402273, $49.99