A Locational Analysis of Rock Art in the North Island, Aotearoa New Zealand
Māori rock art is widely distributed across Aotearoa New Zealand. It has been extensively studied in the South Island where a strong correlation between rock art and limestone outcrops in the South Island has been identified. However, few studies have investigated the distribution and preservation of petroglyphs and pictographs in the North Island. Previous studies suggest preliminary correlations between the distribution of North Island rock art and the availability of suitable rock surfaces. As they are based on broad regional observations of the distribution of sites and geological formations, the observations of correlations of art with rock type are limited. Here we adopt a landscape approach to quantitatively test previous correlations. A bias in the placement of rock art on ignimbrite rock formations is shown. This preliminary analysis provides a foundation for more detailed regional studies to understand if the correlation reflects a deliberate selection of certain geological rock surfaces by North Island Māori, and how differential weathering and preservation processes may contribute to the present-day spatial distribution of rock art.