1250 - First Arrivals from Polynesia

Voyaging canoes from Hawai'iki

Polynesian people first arrived in New Zealand in about 1250AD.

With so many natural benefits, and being near to the sites of first arrivals, it’s likely Waiheke – and Matiatia – were settled soon after.

Charcoal found in garden soil at Rocky Bay has been carbon-dated to 1540 AD.

But, says historian Paul Monin, “There is good reason to expect this date to be pushed back significantly further should a site such as Owhiti Bay [on the north-eastern coast of Waiheke], known from surface collections to be an early settlement site, be investigated (excavated) at some future time.”

Shell found in midden at Wharetana (near Te Whau point) was carbon-dated to the range 1381-1584 AD. The 14th century is the likely time of earliest settlement.

  • <p>Village on Waiheke with large waka pulling up to beach, Piritahi Marae, c1840s. <em>Charles Heaphy, Auckland Museum PD56(85).</em></p>