Abrader; pre-1800; Oceania, New Zealand, South Island, The Catlins, Papatowai; 2...



About this object

A fragment of an abrader from an archaeological site at Papatowai. Made from buff sandstone, possibly originally sourced locally. The offcut bears two saw scarves showing how the fragment was shaped. From the Les Lockerbie collection of archaeological material.

Since the 1920s several archaeologists have taken a keen interest in early archaeological sites which were located at Cannibal Bay, False Island, Manuka Point-Pounawea, Hinahina, King's Rock and Papatowai Point.

Waitaha and Ngati Mamoe inhabited the land and islands from Rakaia to Rakiura (Stewart Island), Ruapuke and along the coast as well as inland to Lakes Hawea, Wanaka and Wakatipu. Using the Waitaki, Mata Au (Clutha River), Mataura and Waiau rivers as highways, they were hunter-gatherers.

Les Lockerbie, who was raised in the Maclennan district, collected artifacts at Papatowai in the period 1924-1936, and it was he who aroused the interest of the Otago Museum, with the result that David Teviotdale undertook digging at Papatowai in 1936-1938.

Later, Lockerbie continued the search at Papatowai and elsewhere, before undertaking a lengthy investigation at Manuka Point. Here he was able to use radio-carbon dating to confirm the age of the artifacts and materials uncovered. A very positive outcome was the publication of the results of his research and the creation at the Otago Museum of an excellent display which shows the layered strata of the site.

In the 1980s Dr Jill Hamel carried out further research in the course of her doctorate studies, which included a dig at Manuka Point.

Today the findings of these archaeologists enable us to gain some perspective of life in the early period of New Zealand pre-history.

Date Made


Place Made

Oceania, New Zealand, South Island, The Catlins, Papatowai

Subject and Association Keywords

anthropology, technology. material culture

Subject and Association Keywords

archaeology, pre-Maori

Medium and Materials

inorganic, stone, sandstone




h 23mm x l 52mm x w 27mm
weight 39.85g

Named Collection

The Les Lockerbie Collection

Credit Line

From the collection of Owaka Museum Wahi Kahuika The Meeting Place "a rest on your journey"

Object Type


Object number



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