Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Roger Duff's Moas

Roger Shepherd Duff was born in Invercargill on 11 July 1912.
At Otago he studied anthropology under H. D. Skinner, who was to become both mentor and colleague. It was not possible to take anthropology to an advanced level and Duff therefore majored in education, the only social science subject available. His MA thesis, on the sociology of Tuahiwi Maori, reflected his early interest in Maori culture.
From 1935 to 1937 Duff worked as a cadet in the Samoan Public Service. He had intended to undertake a social anthropological study, but this proved impossible. The two years in Samoa fostered his interest in Polynesian culture and character; he learned some Samoan, and collected artefacts now in Canterbury Museum. In 1938 he was appointed ethnologist at Canterbury Museum.
His first research project, from 1939 onwards, was the excavation of well-preserved complete moa skeletons at Pyramid Valley in North Canterbury. This was followed by his excavation, initially with a schoolboy assistant, Jim Eyles, at the archaeological site of Wairau Bar in Marlborough in 1942 and over many subsequent years. The artefacts uncovered there allowed Duff to establish conclusively that the Moa-hunters represented an early Maori culture. 

No comments:

Post a Comment