3 million-year-old fossils found in South Auckland

By Mare Haimona-Riki

Curious fossils have been discovered in Māngere, South Auckland in the geological Kaawa Formation, some 35 metres below the earth’s surface.

Tāmaki Paenga Hira, Auckland Museum has partnered with Watercare’s Central Interceptor Project and is in conversation with the Mana Whenua Kaitiaki Managers Forum, to collect, identify, care for and research fossils recently discovered during the excavation of the Central Interceptor main shaft at Greenwood Road, Māngere.

“The first one they showed me was a piece of a stingray tooth, which is really relevant to our whanau, hapū and iwi,” says Trustee from Makaurau Marae, Tuini Tuwha.

“We’ve always heard stories handed down from our tupuna that our tupuna Hape came over on a Stingray

With funding from Watercare, two collection technicians, Nathan Collins and Thomas Stolberger, have been recruited to the museum, providing an opportunity to enhance our knowledge of these taonga, as well as providing valuable training and development for these recruits.

David Reeves, Director of Collections and Research, says “Auckland Museum is excited about the potential of this project.

Not only is there an opportunity to learn more about our environment through scientific research and connections to mātauranga Maori, but there is also the opportunity to share the collection and learnings with the broader public via online databases and education programmes.

"These newly-found specimens are an extraordinary addition to the richness of the collections cared for by Auckland Museum.”