Faculty of Arts


Archaeological History of Aotearoa New Zealand


The origins and history of Māori, the indigenous peoples of Aotearoa New Zealand, are investigated through an archaeological lens. Beginning in the ancestral homeland of East Polynesia we consider voyaging and exploration strategies of the Polynesian ancestors. We then explore the opportunities and challenges of adapting to New Zealand’s temperate environment and the dynamics of Māori settlements, subsistence economies, material culture and socio-political life over time. Early Māori-European interactions, from first contact up to around 1840 are also considered.

The course emphasises how archaeological methods and theories can be used to understand cultural dynamics in the past, and in particular those relevant to Aotearoa New Zealand’s early human history.

Learning Outcomes

A student who successfully completes this course will have the opportunity to:

  • Acquire knowledge of the archaeological history of Aotearoa New Zealand, including Māori links with East Polynesia and the wider Pacific and the development of unique Māori cultural practices
  • Acquire knowledge on archaeological methods and theories as they apply to Aotearoa New Zealand
  • Understand and carry out library research and critical analyses
  • Acquire skills in academic literacy, critical thinking and cross-cultural perspectives


Coursework only

Availability 2021

Semester 2


Coordinator(s) Professor Melinda S. Allen


Coursework only; no exam


ANTHRO 207: 15.0 points


60 points passed 



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