Mobile Unit. Maerewhenua rock paintings

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Tono kōrero mai

An interview with G. B. Stevenson of Oamaru, a local historian and collector of Māori lore, on the site of the Maerewhenua rock paintings, with descriptions of the site and the paintings, their discovery, and theories on their age and origins.

An unidentified Mobile Unit commentator first describes the site at the base of a cliff with a deep overhang. Another commentator (possibly Leo Fowler) then interviews Mr Stevenson about the history of European knowledge of the paintings. He says W. B. D. Mantell was the first European to see rock paintings in 1852 at Takaroa. He describes other locations in Canterbury and Otago where rock paintings have been found, techniques and materials used.

The two men then describe the figures in the paintings at Maerewhenua, which include human figures, birds, and fish. Mr Stevenson also describes a traditional Māori burial found at the site, a man found buried in a sitting position. He says the body was discovered around 1900, but he does not know what became of it.

He says paintings of moa have also been found in other locations, drawn about five feet high. They then discuss the painting of a European sailing ship, which Mr Stevenson dates to around 1830 or 1840, whereas he believes the others are 400 or 500 years old.

He then discusses the use of the rock shelters by Māori as stopping places on the trails to the West Coast to find greenstone. The group then continues recording after climbing up to a cave about 80 feet above the ground. Mr Stevenson describes more paintings here, including more of European ships and fish.

They end by talking about vandalism to the paintings and efforts being made to protect them. Mr Stevenson says he saw Mantell's sketches of the drawings at Takaroa, which showed shotgun damage already in 1852. He conjectures as to who owned a shotgun in the area before 1852 and could have done this.

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Year 1948

Reference number 5603

Media type AUDIO

Collection Sound Collection

Genre Documentary radio programs
Nonfiction radio programs
Radio programs
Sound recordings

Credits Stevenson, G. B. (Gilbert Buchanan) 1884-1953, Interviewee
New Zealand Broadcasting Service. Mobile Recording Unit, Broadcaster

Duration 00:26:29

Date 1948