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It was a busy and successful weekend with the archaeology students from the University of Otago Anthropology Society. On Saturday 14th March Archaeologist Peter Petchey and 13 students excavated two 2 metre x 2 metre areas to find the corners of the entrance-way in the Larnach-era building that once enclosed the south side of the farmstead. This is where the previous Nyhon woolshed once stood, so it was expected to find quite a bit of disturbance, but there was surviving evidence of the old buildings still on site. The group found stone lines and the two interior corners of the entrance-way into the farmyard. They also cleared out the drains around the byre, which were clogged since they were last cleared by OAS students about two years ago.
On Sunday 15th March Peter and four students worked at Stewarts cottage. They dug out a considerable amount of sheep droppings from the interior of the original section of the cottage and removed a couple of sheep cadavers. They also put up netting to try to stop sheep getting in again.
The Hereweka Trust have recently deconstructed the small barn used as an early 20th century woolshed at the Larnach’s farmstead on the Hereweka site. The work was undertaken by local contractor John Clearwater from Clearwater Civil and supervising archaeologist Peter Petchey. While it was sad to see the building go, the building had reached a state of such disrepair its retention and conservation were almost impossible. From the deconstruction the Trust were able to ascertain that the building was;
- probably not part of the original Larnach-period and was constructed in the early 20th century.
- its construction was a mixture of timbers (including imported hardwoods, a small amount of pit-sawn natives, milled rimu and milled pine).
- some of the material had been “cobbled together” from other buildings.
- very little of the material was sound enough for reuse, though some may be used as seating in the future.
A full archaeological report will follow the work and this information helps the Trust develop further understanding of the use of the site both during and after the Larnach period. Some of that will help form part of the later interpretation for visitors to the site.
Dunedin is famous for having warm and settled weather in March and Sunday the 11th was a beautiful example of that fame. Bright sun and no breeze welcomed over 300 keen Hereweka hikers of all ages for the 6.45 km walk across this unique part of the Otago Peninsula. The Trust were delighted with the turn out and it was great to see so many families take on the challenge of the course. The added bonus of a sausage sizzle at Larnach Farm that was put on generously by the Breeze Radio Station was a welcome stop and chance to rest before the last downhill section of the walk. A special thanks to Jane Ashman for help with parking, Keep Dunedin Beautiful for the chocolate and the Trust Committee for your hard work and support. Overall, this was a great event and it was very pleasing to have such a great turn-out. The Trust looks forward to having everyone back again next year. (Click on the pictures to view full size)
The Hereweka Hike is a self guided marked hike around the Harbour Cone property featuring interpretative signs that tell you the history and values of this interesting and beautiful area. You will be able to visit and learn more about;
- Some of the historic farmsteads
- Climb the summit of Harbour Cone (optional)
- Visit Larnachs Farm
- Enjoy the amazing views
- Visit the restoration work at Smiths Creek
- Explore a part of the Peninsula you may have never seen
This is a free event is for those walkers with a moderate level of fitness who want to take their time and enjoy the area in their own time. It’s perfect for getting your kids out in the great outdoors to blow off that back to school steam! You will need to bring good walking shoes, suitable clothes for the conditions, plenty of water, your lunch, and your camera. Because this is a working farm please leave your dog at home. (Sorry Rover!).
Walkers can register on the day (11th March 2018) and begin from the Bacon St entrance at 10.00 -11.30. This event is free and walkers will receive a guide to area before they begin. Parking will be available in the paddock adjacent to the start and at Turnbulls Bay Quarry.
The embedded map below are interactive and can be enlarged and zoomed out for a better view of the route and the points of interest.
There has been increasing interest in tree planting at Smiths Creek lately to mark the births of new children or grandchildren. Here proud dad Nathan Latton celebrates the birth of his fourth daughter Francesca (in the front pack with Kylie) by planting another tree on the Hereweka Harbour Cone block. Nathan’s most recent planting was also an opportunity to release the totara trees that were planted by his older daughters, Rosa, Amalie and Sylvie in a previous year. New tree planting to commemorate family events is welcome at Hereweka, but the Trust do not accept the burial of ashes. If you’d like to plant a native tree for someone special or to commemorate a special event in your family history please contact the Trust.
Dairy farming around Harbour Cone declined in the early 1900s. The Nyhon family bought out the small farms down in Smiths Gully, as well as the Larnach Model Farm on Camp Road. The amalgamated farms gave the Nyhon family 250-300 acres, with their best road access being at Camp Road, rather than Highcliff Road.
Larnach’s Camp Road farmstead was not ideal for a shearing shed and associated yards as they sit precariously on a small flat section of steep hillside. The small barn was eventually built into two-stand shearing shed around 1910. The back wall had been supported by massive natural posts, which were two stories high, with corrugated iron cladding to protect the supporting bank. Today, the posts are now rotten hollow shells, the cladding sheets dropping off in chunks, and the central roof beam broken in two places.
The Hereweka Trust is in the process of deconstructing the little shearing shed, with detailed recording at all stages. While making his first drawings and measurement of the building, consultant archaeologist Peter Petchey, came across eight wool bale stencils, tucked neatly away on a top plate since the shed was last used in the 1990s. They are an interesting find and provide an insight into the move from dairying into sheep farming.
The continuation of the major planting project at Smiths Creek has been a long and wearisome project at times as the Trust comes to the end of this years planting. Without the invaluable work of a team of dedicated volunteers our work with the Trees That Count project would not have been possible. One group who has been tireless in its assistance of the Hereweka Trust has been the Dunedin City Council Task-force Green volunteers. They have moved mountains of materials and plants as well as tackling some of the stubborn areas of gorse left remaining within the catchment. The Trust are very grateful for the all of the help we have had this year and hope that the last few months will not stop people coming back next year!
To show our appreciation Trust members Paul Pope and Lala Frazer put on a barbecue for the large team of over 30 people we had at Smiths Creek today. We have certainly put the group through their paces as they ate through 60 sausages and 40 pieces of marinated steak. There’s nothing like hard work outdoors to give people a hearty appetite! Well done everyone, it was our pleasure and we look forward to seeing you all back next year. (Click on pictures to see full size)
The Hereweka Harbour Cone property has a fascinating history and landscape, and now new citizens are able to add to that history and put down new roots in New Zealand. The Dunedin City Council offers new citizens the option of having their gift tree planted on the public land of the Hereweka Harbour Cone Block so that it remains and flourishes in perpetuity. Recently Lara Jones planted the kowhai she was given at Smiths Creek when she became a New Zealand citizen. Here she is observed by dog, Zak, who regularly supervises the planting of native trees in the Smiths Creek area.