Ancient Tunnels, underlying an historical site in New Zealand. Tunnels into a Faerie mound?

These tunnels or caves have a curious origin and unresearched function. Old (some would say mythological) stories associate them with the wee folk. Fairies, Turehu or Patu-pai-arehe depending on the regional or usual name used in various areas of NZ..

Acknowledged by Maori as having been constructed by the original peoples with whom they had contact. These unfortunately have not been investigated, possibly due to fear and tapu, or no desire to intefere, or simply lack of research interest or funding. These intriguing remnants of previous folk have been ignored and are falling into disrepair. Some tunnel entrances were even blocked up to prevent children getting lost inside.
here to view a larger photo.

Throughout NZ there are similar tunnels. These particular examples were exposed due to subsidence. The story is that the whole area is apparently riddled with such tunnels. Apart from the odd child having entered them, little is discussed except that they were there before and that wee folk had inhabited them. After a child was "lost" in one for a while, the tunnel entrances were blocked up and subsequently all the streams in the area dried up.

This particular pair of tunnels continued on and sloped upwards into a mound about two metres high. Very much in the way rabbit burrows rise upwards after a couple of feet or so. This mound has three sides around which was probably a watercourse or stream. The fourth side is really part of a terrace which gradually rises into a low lying ridge. Possibly the tunnels lead into the hill that forms the ridge. The immediate foreground is silted over and has obviously held pools of water. A skull of a dead sheep can be seen at the start of the right hand tunnel. Where the tunnels rise into the mound the tunnel floors are dry and not silted.

What happened to the people that constructed, used and inhabited tunnels like these? Where do these particular tunnels lead? Will we ever be permitted to investigate and what would be found?

Were the wee folk hunted to extinction after the musket arrived? Did they die from introduced aliments such as small-pox, flu or other disease? Were they suffocated or drowned when tunnels were deliberately blocked? We know that occasionally such tunnels are revealed around the country, and indeed that some wee folk remains have been found. Why do the authorities not openly admit and investigate such finds, and publish results?

When did you last see the wee folk? Many people (usually children but not always) seem to have seen wee folk, but for fear of ridicule, and as adults, they don't admit to "seeing things at the end of the garden". It is reported that wee folk have been encountered even into the late 1950's.

For generations folk have been told that seeing such things is simply "childish imagination" and the result of "bad dreams". Curious. Such stories abound worldwide, and in true form, there is worldwide fear or denial of small people. Faeries, or whatever name is used for them, are securely displaced into the realm of mythology and fiction. Is ridicule such a severe deterant that even proof like skeletal remains can be denied, and that the authorities suppress and refute their existence? A child's dreamtime creation.

I can't say I have ever encountered a wee person, leprechaun, fairy or otherwise, or that I believe you'd run into one in the dark at the end of the garden (At least not these days!(?)). But I have friends who have reluctantly admitted they believe they have, or known of people or reports of such, and that it had a profound effect on them at the time. In most instances it was when they were a child.

If you have additional information about the wee folk, or encounters with them, we'd really like to know about it.
Mail the details to:

A skeleton of one of the wee folk.
Although about the height of a seven year old child,
this is no child as a full set of adult molars are evident.

The host web-site Mitchell Kilt Hire

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