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Ngā Tohuwhenua Mai Te Rangi: A New Zealand Archeology in Aerial Photographs

Shell middens near Te Paki, at the northern end of Ninety Mile Beach

Shell middens near Te Paki, at the northern end of Ninety Mile Beach

Shell middens near Te Paki, at the northern end of Ninety Mile Beach

The beach below high-water mark was a very productive source of shellfish. This locality appears to have been particularly favoured because of the stream flowing into the beach from the small dune lake. The beach is at the bottom of the photograph, and the midden patches are about 8 m across. The shells, mainly of tuatua with some toheroa, showing as white patches against a darker yellow-brown sand (lower centre), were probably gathered in summer. The patches mark the edges of short-term settlements probably occupied in summer for this fishing. The shellfish were probably steamed in umu, extracted from the shell, dried in the sun and transported inland to more permanent settlements by the inland lakes and forests of the peninsula.