Inquisitive Devonport residents turned up by the dozen at the site of the former Duder Brickworks recently to take a peek at some of the archaeological discoveries.

The excavation work is a condition of Ryman Healthcare's consent to build a new village on the Ngataringa Road site.

The archaeology team is from Clough & Associates lead by Rod Clough.

"There was a detailed archaeological report on the site carried out in 2015 and in 2016 a report on an exploratory investigation carried out to better understand the extent and character of the archaeological remains prior to development.


"Information in those reports was used as a basis for the consent applications for the project, so we needed to obtain resource consent from Auckland Council and an authority to modify an archaeological site from Heritage New Zealand.

"The current investigation has largely been carried out under the requirements of the Heritage NZ authority," said Dr Clough.

The Brickworks were established by twin brothers Richard and Robert Duder in around 1875, and used clay from Ngataringa Bay to make bricks, glazed drain pipes and fittings.

After the brothers died, the works were leased in 1942 to the Army, who demolished the chimney, and then later that year to the Avondale firm Crum Brick, Tile and Pottery Co.

Communications advisor for Ryman Healthcare Village Maryvonne Gray said the marquee had various findings from the excavations, mainly old broken bricks and bits of glazed pipe.

"There were some information panels put together by the archaeology team explaining some of the history of the site.

"On one table there were examples of things made at the brickworks at the time including garden pots and some intact bricks kindly loaned for the occasion by Nelson Webster who is a great-nephew of the Duder brothers Robert and Richard," she said.

The Duder family - early settlers on the peninsula - operated a brickworks on the site from 1875 until the 1930s.

The team hoped valuable information relating to the history of the site and brick manufacture in the 19th and early 20th century could still be recovered.

At the eastern end of the site, excavations had revealed the foundations of a round kiln and a late 19th century road and brick pathway which once led up to Lake Road.

Further up, remains of old flues, pipework and some broken bricks had been revealed.

Also in attendance was Trish Deans from the Devonport Heritage Society who said laws to protect historical sites weren't in place when the Navy built their accommodation.

"We wanted to challenge the standard retirement village design that Ryman builds and persuade Ryman that their design should be sympathetic to Devonport's historic character," said Mrs Deans.

Field Supervisor from Clough & Associates, Adina Brown said part of the kiln floor was discovered in exploratory investigations and this has since been confirmed.

"This week we have uncovered the square base of a brick structure in the location we expected the chimney to be, so this is promising."

As part of the overall works, Rymans will install permanent interpretation panels telling the history of the site, and once all the analysis has been completed detailed reports on the excavations will be uploaded to the Auckland Council Cultural Heritage Inventory.

There will also be discussions with Devonport Museum about taking some of the interpretation material.