Taylor’s Farm (Pioneer Farm Settlement Site in Coromandel Ranges, NZ)

I’m an amateur archaeologist, mainly surveying and recording sites around the Hauraki-Coromandel area in the North Island of NZ. The area is a rich source of prehistoric and historic Maori sites, plus pioneer European gold mining, timber milling and farming sites. I’m currently searching for a pioneer farm block that was allocated in 1880, subjected to bush clearance, and farmed for some 20-30 years, until it was finally abandoned. The block of interest is the 240 acres allocated to Richard Taylor in the Karaka Valley, about 10 km inland from Thames. Historical evidence indicates he engaged in dairy farming, and transported his produce down to Thames, by packhorse.

We now have an old survey map of the boundaries of Taylor’s Farm, and some historical info on where the homestead was. The area is now covered in dense re-growth bush and is particularly difficult to traverse, away from the few main foot tracks in the area.

On Day of Archaeology (29th June) we searched for Taylor’s homestead site, plus other farm features (e.g. fences). We have found a dwelling site, with remains of machinery consistent with a dairy farm (remains of a cream separator). However, this was slightly outside the recorded boundaries of Taylor’s block, so we’re not 100% sure if it was Taylor’s dwelling or not. If not, it’s still a significant site; being in the area known as Punga Flat, a mining settlement established in 1868.

Best wishes to my NZAA colleagues, who are at the annual conference in Oamaru. Unfortunately, I wont be able to join them this year.