The range of vegetation, and the interpenetration of land and water, shaped the human ecology of the lower Waihou River before European colonisation. Māori caught mullet and flounder at the rivermouth. Eel weirs lined stretches of riverbank, backing onto cultivations of kūmara and later, after contact with Europeans, of corn, melon, potato and pumpkin. At the Tukituki bend, swamp birds were caught and flax was harvested. The Tūrua forest provided fruit and berries from trees such as hīnau, and birds such as kākā, kererū and tūī.
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Source: Caroline Phillips, Waihou journeys: the archaeology of 400 years of Māori settlement. Auckland: Auckland University Press, 2000, pp. 21,56