The Heart of Horeke—serving beer since 1826!

It’s Friday night and what better way to unwind than to visit your local watering hole. Luckily for us, our local watering hole is located approximately 30 seconds walk from excavation square to bar stool, which coincidentally, doubles as our home.

Located 40 minutes drive from Kerikeri, Horeke Tavern ( is the oldest pub in New Zealand and is situated on the shores of the Hokianga Harbour (as history enthusiasts, we find this an exciting coincidence). Serving the local community since 1826, the pub hosts the annual regatta as well as, local patrons with hearty pub meals and New Zealand’s finest drops (Lion Red, Speights, Export and Steinlager). This pub is currently hosting 15 archaeologists on our two-week excavation and will no doubt continue to go down in history—either for finding New Zealand’s earliest European shipyard or just enjoying the best that the Hokianga region has to offer.

Today was another hot day in the Horeke sun! It consisted of excavating test pits to determine the location of one of the slipways that once existed along the shoreline. After re-examining the geomagnetic data, archaeologists tested for a slipway. Unfortunately, this anomaly turned out to be a modern metal pipe. Six archaeologists subsequently entered into discussion for where this slipway might exist. Of course, this outcome is all part of archaeology and all hope is not lost. Luckily for us, the Horeke Tavern had the beers chilling and we found ourselves further discussing the days finds over a cold frothy-one!

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Research projects and excavations of this scale are few and far between in New Zealand. They rely largely on the generosity and support of volunteers and local communities. Pub owners, Peter and Laurel Maddren are exceptional examples of this overwhelming generosity—keeping the team fed and hydrated! The task of providing adequate sustenance and accommodation for 15 or more overly enthusiastic archaeologists is no easy task. Every evening, we arrive home to this…

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To enjoy this …

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If you ever find yourself travelling through, be sure to stop in. Thanks Horeke Tav!