History of Dunedin

History Of Dunedin

History of Dunedin

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The city of Dunedin, New Zealand has played an important role in the history of New Zealand. Archaeological evidence points to the area having been long inhabited by Māori prior to the European arrival. It was a significant centre in the Archaic period when the North Island was scarcely inhabited. It was one of a few places of European sojourn and occupation in the Contact Period before 1840. It saw the establishment of perhaps the most utopian Wakefield settlement in 1848 by the Free Church of Scotland.

The discovery of gold inland from Dunedin in 1861 led to the new city becoming the colony's main industrial and commercial centre. The successful export of frozen meat provided an extra impetus to Dunedin's importance and growth, as did the establishment of the country's first university.

Pre-European history

Archaeological evidence shows the first human (Māori) occupation of New Zealand occurred around AD 1250–1300, with population concentrated along the south east coast. A camp site at Kaikai's Beach, near Otago Heads, has been dated about that time. From this Moa Hunter (Archaic) phase of Māori culture there are numerous sites in the Dunedin area, including ones interpreted as permanent villages at Little Papanui and Harwood Township in the 14th century. With reduced moa numbers the population slumped but grew again with the evolution of a new Classic culture producing fortified villages (pa), the one at Pukekura (Taiaroa Head) being...
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