Around five hundred years ago, Maori moa hunters visited the South Canterbury and North Otago coastal plain, leaving a record of their sojourn on the walls and ceilings of open-sided limestone rock shelters. There are more than three hundred rock drawings around Timaru, Geraldine and Fairlie; the faded charcoal and red ochre drawings depict a variety of stylized human, bird and mythological figures and patterns. The best of the cave drawings can be seen in the region’s museums, notably Timaru’s new Te Ana Maori Rock Art Centre and the North Otago Museum in Oamaru. Around 95 percent of those remaining in situ are on private land and are often hard to make out, and what is visible is often the misguided result of nineteenth-century repainting. The best destination is Frenchman’s Gully, where moa and a stylized birdman figure can be seen. Contact the Te Ana Maori Rock Art Centre for guided tours.

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