Hi all, I was wondering whether anyone is aware of a source of reasonable flint near them? I am aware that the limestone around Kaikoura and up the East coast of the NI yields nodules, though I don't know of any specific locations. There is a little bit of flint in my home city Wellington - it has been dumped in the harbour by passing vessels from Europe that used flint nodules as ballast in the past - though after some searching I've never found any, and the geology around here has only a little limestone so there's not much natural (I think -- please corrent me if someone knows otherwise!). I did a bit of flint knapping in the UK years ago and Stephen's book on ancient skills has spurred me into the thought to do a little more...

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I am not sure where to find flint in New Zealand, but in the Christchurch Museum they have some flint that has been found in NZ and where it was found, sorry I can't remember more than that, it was some time ago I saw this in the museum.
Hi Scott, thanks for this - a good pointer. I'll check out a Te Papap as well as I know they have a geology section on the natural history floor....
Sorry I can't help with finding flint but I too want to learn to knap.
Having made a bow, string, arrows fletches etc. I want to make my own arrowheads.
I have heard that obsidian can be found in the north island though.
Good luck- nice if we can share resources.
Glass is also good to knap- I have seen some amazing glass arrowheads made from bottle glass, t.v. glass, computer monitor glass, etc. (careful though- some screens have nasty coatings inside, do some research first)
I am unable to tell the difference between flint and chert (and probably other related rocks). The best flint-like rock I have was brought up from the ocean floor by a trawler. It was a nice big flat slab. It may have come from the east of the South Island, but I'm not sure.

I've seen small bits of flint-like rock in mother rock near Ward Beach in Marlborough. My son tells me that it is believed there is a source of reasonable chert near Clarence River in the South Island.

I have been sent smallish chert (?) nodules from around Raglan, but I haven't tried to do anything with them yet.

I have seen early stone tools found in NZ that are made of something like flint or chert, so there must be some around.

We have tons of metasomised argillite at the top of the South Island, but I have found it virtually impossible to pressure flake. The Maori made adzes, drills and scrapers from this (and probably other things too). I understand that they used hammer stones to work it.

I believe that obsidian can be found around Mayor Island up north. The Maori made obsidian tools, and I understand that obsidian can be one of the easiest materials to knap.

I've made a couple of crude arrowheads from bottle bottoms. But I've never hunted with glass-tipped arrows. My archery gear is primitive to look at (very), and I generally use natural materials and simple tools to make it. However I have only hunted with synthetic bow strings and steel arrow heads. I did make both these components from factory produced materials though. One day I might try to bag something with a natural arrow head and a flax fibre string.
Hi Stephen, thanks for this. I believe chert and flint are exactly the same thing, flint being darker, but basically flint is chert. I know from the stone tools I've seen in the UK that both were used in the past, though I've seen some stunningly good items of black flint and less well formed ones of lighter coloured cherts. However, this could be to do with both the worker's (a) knowledge of knapping and (b) knowledge of which cherts are best for the job. (There are a few museums in Somerset and Dorset (UK) where I come from with artifacts like these, I remember the darker ones also happen to be made later and were less crude). Oh well, just a case of looking and tyring I suppose! Flint is quite common in the UK in areas with chalk or other limestone features, and there was plenty just lying around on beaches in some parts of Dorset with chalk cliffs. The nodules are formed in layers of limestone, certain chemicals leak out of the shells etc. and form chert. This is so with the flint I've seen anyways, which tends to look like rounded knobbly white pebbles on the outside (I guess from around the size of my thumb to the size of my head), with a opaque light grey/brown to black interior.
What do you think about this trademe auction? It does not specify as flint but the picture looks like it could be?

Also, found this on a page on tramper.co.nz
"Also interesting are the dark bands of flint (also known as chert) that have formed in the limestone beds. While the limestone beds are formed from the lime (calcium carbonate) of shelled animals, flint is formed as silicaceous creatures such as tiny diatoms and radiolarians are trapped in the sediment. The silica dissolves and reforms as nodules and layers of flint. These hard flints weather out of the limestone, and are found as dark, slightly translucent pebbles on the local beaches."

Maybe once we get some members from around there we can confirm and perhaps we will have our source.
Hi Ryan, thanks for this! Just spotted your message....yes, would be good if we could get our own source...
Hi, looks like early Maori did use flint in the South, I've just managed to locate some references to its use in tomahawks. This reference comes from the Kaiapoi area, Canterbury, and from my research there is source in the limestone north of Cheviot at Maori Leap Caves which would make sense....
I had reason to head down to Kairkoura recently and discovered some quantities of chert on the beaches between there and where SH1 turns in land. What I found was reasonably common but pretty poor quality, not sure whether it will be usable for knapping but we'll see!
Interesting, cheers for that. I found a chunk in a limestone cave in pirongia forest during the outing a few weeks ago. Its quite poor quality though and looks more like chert (I think my terminology is correct)
Chert and Flint are the same thing, people tend to call black/dark chert flint, though.
It occurs sporadically in area's of limestone. I've never found any just lying around, sadly. Hoping to soon though, want to have a go at making an all-natural bow and arrow set up.
Good that Uni Geology came in handy! =D
For anyone interested, I eventually managed to locate some flint on Cape Campbell, Malborough. Will be adding a photo of a large nodule there shortly...


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