Human remains have been found next to Ngati Whatua Orakei's cemetery on Tamaki Drive in Auckland by a council contractor.

Council's Healthy Waters general manager Craig McIlroy told the Herald that human remains were found at the Okahu Bay urupa during post-storm excavation works.

"Both Ngati Whatua Orakei and Auckland Council were immediately notified and appropriate tikanga Maori (protocol) followed.

The council will continue to bring together the appropriate parties to discuss a way forward, McIlroy said.

Ngati Whatua representative Sharon Hawke could not be contacted, but told Fairfax that council archaeological investigators estimated the remains pre­dated the installation
of Tamaki Drive in 1932 after the discovery on Wednesday.


The excavation site is on the outside of the Ngati Whatua cemetery and close to Tamaki Drive.

"This is another reminder of our recent history and that the road was built over the bones of our people," Hawke told Stuff.

Hawke praised Auckland Council for contacting Ngati Whatua swiftly following the find.

"That meant we were able to ensure the appropriate cultural needs were attended to."

After a site visit and archaeological assessments, it was established that the remains were historic. Representatives from Ngati Whatua attended the blessed the site on Thursday.

Orakei councillor Desley Simpson said while the disocvery must have been hugely upsetting for the wider Ngati Whatua family she was pleased the find was reported to htem quickly so that they could take the appropriate cultural steps.