'Maori Pompeii' yields treasures
5:00AM Tuesday May 27, 2008
By Craig Borley

Tawhiti Rahi Island (rear) in the Poor Knights group was inhabited by pre-European Maori. Photo / Northern Advocate

A New Zealand archaeologist has uncovered an untouched "time capsule" of Maori life almost 200 years ago.

The remains have lain hidden beneath the impenetrable undergrowth of the Poor Knights' northern island, Tawhiti Rahi, since December 16, 1823.

On that day, or in the few days prior, a raiding party from Northland's Hikutu hapu landed at the island's only safe landing spot - choosing a time when the island's Ngatiwai iwi chief and men were off on their own raid.

The island fell, its inhabitants massacred, and was barely ever set foot on again.

That created what is known as a "Pompeii premise" - where an archaeological landscape is left intact.

More here .