Settlement following kiln damage

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Heritage New Zealand has settled with Oamaru company Mitchell & Webster Limited following damage to two of North Otago’s most iconic stone structures at a dairy conversion site earlier this year.

The Teaneraki or Meeks Lime Kilns are situated on Coalpit Rd, Enfield and date to 1896 and 1906 making them among the earliest kilns built in the region.

Heritage New Zealand archaeologist Dr Matt Schmidt said about three to four metres was taken off the kilns during earthworks before work on the site was halted.

Because the working area and one of the kilns are pre-1900 an archaeological authority was required prior to work commencing.

Following a constructive on-site meeting Mitchell & Webster Ltd acknowledged it had damaged an important part of the regions industrial history.

The company has agreed to contribute financially towards a Heritage New Zealand project which will involve inputting field and historic data on 180 archaeological sites in North Otago into the New Zealand Archaeological Associations national database (Archsite).

“It is a great shame what has happened to these kilns but the outcome for recording industrial archaeology has been very positive,” Dr Schmidt said.

“As part of the agreement reached the site will be fenced, what remains of the kilns will be stabilised and irrigation will be controlled so as to not affect the site.

“The financial contribution from Mitchell & Webster will go a long way to ensuring such sites are recorded on the NZAAs Archsite and information is readily accessible to the farming community and developers.”