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Convictions For Burial Ground Damage

13 September 2001

From : New Zealand Historic Places Trust Pouhere Taonga

Trust Prosecution Leads To Convictions For Burial Ground Damage


The New Zealand Historic Places Trust’s action in prosecuting Payne Sewell Limited and Higgins Contractors Limited for damaging an archaeological site was vindicated today with both companies being found guilty of causing damage or modification to an archaeological site.

The case was heard before Judge Henwood at the Porirua District Court in mid July of this year. Her Honour reserved her decision, which was released today.

The Judge concluded “the Court is of no doubt that the prosecution have proved the ingredients of the charge against both defendants for the reasons set out in this judgment. The prosecution does not allege that the defendants had the full knowledge of the significant historical evidence relating to this Maori burial site which goes back to the judgment of Judge MacKay in 1896. The allegation and the charge has been brought against them for continuing to work on the site on or about 20 July 2000 once the accidental discovery of the old bones on 5th July 2000 had occurred, and they had been put on notice by archaeologist Susan Forbes.”

The Trust’s Senior Legal Adviser, Claire Heather said the Trust was “satisfied with the outcome of the case. The Trust’s authority process and the work of archaeologists are vital for the proper management of New Zealand’s valuable archaeological heritage and we feel that the integrity of both has been maintained with this decision.”

Dr Rick McGovern-Wilson, the Trust’s Senior Archaeologist, said that the decision was “a significant reminder of the importance of New Zealand’s history and that these sites need to be managed carefully so they are not lost to future generations.”
For more information :
Dr Rick McGovern Wilson
Senior Archeologist
New Zealand Historic Places Trust Pouhere Taonga


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