Road works in central Wellington have uncovered what has been described as a "treasure trove" of colonial history.
Lombard Lane sits between high rise hotels, apartments and car parking buildings in a trendy shopping and cafe area of the capital's CBD.
Road workers redeveloping the road have come across the remains of a fort, which protected early port buildings and date back to the 1840s.
They have also discovered the foundations of those buildings.
"This tells us a lot about the first buildings that were established on the beach when the first settlers arrived," said archaeologist Andy Dodd.
The site, just off Cuba Street, was once the waterfront. As well as early buildings and a fort, shells have been discovered at the site.
While the site tells us about New Zealand's early settler history, the site is also important to local iwi.
"I think the colonial history and the Maori history are so intertwined that this is a reminder of the history at its very early stages," said Mark Te One of Te Ati Awa Taranaki iwi.
He said the discovery has been made in the junction between a lot of former pa sites, in particular Te Aro Pa, Kumutoto Pa and Pipitea Pa, which in most cases have disappeared.
"So any reminder to them is very important."
The site was blessed on Monday by those whose ancestors lived at one of those many pa.
The Wellington City Council is working with local iwi to decide how to best inform visitors and locals about the significance of the area.