Photograph from project launch

Behind the scenes: Willett’s collection research

The North Otago Museum is currently working on an exciting research project. The project involves the University of Otago, Te Runanga O Moeraki and the Waitaha Taiwhenua o Waitaki Trust Board. The focus of the project is a collection of taoka known as the Willett’s collection. The collection comprises 9,150 separate taoka, including adzes, flakes, scrapers and other stone tools. The stone used for the tools originated from sites across Aotearoa. The Willett’s family found these taoka on their farm near the mouth of the Waitaki River.

The first step involves examining and systematically cataloguing the collection. Then the research will focus on broader questions around the settlement of Aotearoa. Especially the lifestyle and economy of the people at the site during the 14th century.

Professor Richard Walter is leading the research. The project could take up to two years to complete. The Museum looks forward to being a part of this research and sharing the findings with the local community.

Front row from left to right: Mary-Anne Tipa, Anne Te Maiharoa Dodds, Chloe Searle and Richard Walter. Image Credit: Otago Daily Times. Photographer Hamish MacLean