Dilys Amanda Johns
FIIC London, ICCROM Rome, CCI Ottawa, NZCCM
Dilys Johns studied Archaeology at the University of Auckland, completing a thesis: Waterlogged Wood Conservation – an investigation of radiation-induced polymerisation of monomers in 1985.
Subsequently Dilys received a Department of Internal Affairs Cultural Conservation Advisory Council scholarship to study conservation science in Rome at the International Centre for the Study of the Preservation of Cultural Property and in Ottawa at the Canadian Conservation Institute.
Returning to New Zealand in 1987 Dilys established the National Wet Organic Archaeological Materials Conservation Laboratory at The University of Auckland. This purpose-built laboratory, a unique facility in NZ, specialises in the study and conservation of waterlogged ‘at risk’ taonga / artefacts and in situ preservation of wetland archaeological sites.
Dilys Johns has been involved with a variety of projects throughout New Zealand and the Pacific. She directs conservation at The University of Auckland laboratory and satellite conservation facilities in Southland, Otago, Wellington, Nelson, Waiuku and Muriwai.
In press. Dilys Johns with Manawhenua ki Mohua and Te Rūnanga o Ōtākou. Conserving 14th and 15th century canoes in satellite treatment facilities in Aotearoa, New Zealand - ‘Getting by’ down under. Proceedings of the International Council of Museums, Committee for Conservation, Wet Organic Archaeological Materials conference, Florence, Italy. May 2016.
Recent media coverage of conservation projects:
Current off-site large scale conservation projects in New Zealand include:
- 2016 July - assessment, recovery and analysis of a waterlogged wood feature, possibly a fish weir, discovered in Te Wherowhero lagoon Muriwai, near Gisborne, http://gisborneherald.co.nz/localnews/2382453-135/exciting-archaeological-find-in-muriwai-estuary see also the HNZ newsletter
- 2016 - Recently a new treatment venue for completion of the significant Anaweka canoe strake has been established in Takaka in partnership with Fonterra, Manuwhenua ki Mohua and the Ministry for Culture and Heritage http://www.gbweekly.co.nz/wp-content/uploads/2017/06/2017_june02GBWeekly.pdf
- 2015 June - recovery, preliminary assessment and establishment of conservation facilities for a waterlogged canoe discovered near the Waikato River with Ngatiteata Kaumatua George Flavell and the Ministry for Culture and Heritage. https://fbcdn-sphotos-d-a.akamaihd.net/hphotos-ak-xpf1/t31.0-8/11067937_466576093513232_5012720729628135522_o.jpg
- 2014 to present - assessment, excavation and conservation of a canoe and associated fibre taonga from Papanui Inlet, Otakou Penninsula, Dunedin. Otakou Te Runanga o Otakou, Ngai Tahu. http://ngaitahu.iwi.nz/te-karaka/issue-66/ https://www.odt.co.nz/news/dunedin/hundreds-turn-out-treaty-waitangi-festival
http://ngaitahu.iwi.nz/our_stories/historic-waka-found/ http://blog.doc.govt.nz/2014/10/20/waka-papanui-inlet/ http://www.tepanui.co.nz/tpr/2014/12/waka-excavation/
- 2012 to present - conservation of a large carved 6 metre canoe section recovered near Anaweka Estuary on the northern west coast of the South Island, New Zealand. A new venue for completion of this large project has recently been established in Takaka https://www.auckland.ac.nz/en/about/news-events-and-notices/news/news-2014/10/cultural-conservation-of-ancient-waka-heralds-a-new-chapter-in-u.html http://www.hokulea.com/uncovering-ancient-waka/ http://www.radiolive.co.nz/New-Zealands-Most-Precious-Artefact/tabid/506/articleID/74388/Default.aspx
- 2011 to present - on-site assessment of a canoe recovered from Omaui, Mokomoko Inlet , Southland for Murhiku, Ngai Tahu. Treatment of the taonga is ongoing at Southland Museum where conservation progress is accessible to museum visitors Exhibiting conservation Southland Museum and Art Gallery https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7ot9436SpMY http://www.stuff.co.nz/southland-times/news/6279936/Conservation-expert-looks-at-Omaui-waka
- 2011 to present - on-site assessment and conservation of a small canoe recovered from Pakiri estuary, near Warkworth for Ngati Manuhiri.
- 2010 to present - conservation of a waterlogged canoe recovered from Muriwai Beach at Auckland Council Regional Depot for Ngati Whatua o Kaipara,Te Kawerau Iwi Tribal Authority and the Ministry for Culture and Heritage https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n8WPJNijSt0 http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=10617132
- 2009 to present - conservation of a waterlogged canoe roughout recovered from Hutt River, Wellington, for the Ministry for Culture and Heritage http://www.stuff.co.nz/national/2950294/Chemical-bath-to-save-waka
Research | Current
- Conservation of at-risk taonga
- Sustainability of in situ preservation for wetland archaeological sites in New Zealand
Teaching | Current
ANTHRO 340 Heritage Conservation in Aotearoa
This course presents a cultural conservation overview focused on rationale and principles rather than treatment. Heritage Conservation in Aotearoa equips students with a cultural orientation to materials conservation where issues are examined through several contexts including anthropological studies and conservation science.
Fellow of the International Institute for Conservation of Historic and Artistic works (London, United Kingdom)
Areas of expertise
- Cultural conservation of wet organic archaeological materials
- New Zealand wetsite conservation/archaeology
- James Jenkins lecture Nelson public lecture http://itson.co.nz/2016/13348-nelson-historical-society-james-jenkins-lecture
Assistant Coordinator of the Wet Organic Archaeological Materials International Council of Museums Committee for Conservation (ICOM CC) Paris, France. In May we organized the 13th ICOM CC Wet Organic Archaeological Materials (WOAM) in Florence, Italy where 70 papers and 25 posters were presented over 5 days.
Founding member of New Zealand Conservators of Cultural Materials (NZCCM)
Member International Council of Museums New Zealand Aotearoa (Board member 2012 to 2014)
Member Wetland Archaeological Research Project (Exeter,U.K.)
Member of Heritage New Zealand - Pouhere Taonga
Member of New Zealand Archaeological Association
Selected publications and creative works (Research Outputs)
- Boswijk, G., & Johns, D. A. (2017). Tree-ring analysis of kauri (Agathis australis) samples from a waka recovered from Muriwai Beach, Auckland. University of Auckland: School of Environment.
Other University of Auckland co-authors: Gretel Boswijk
- Boswijk, G., & Johns, D. (2017). Tree-ring analysis of kauri (Agathis australis) samples from a waka recovered from Maioro Beach, Waikato River Delta, Waikato. University of Auckland: School of Environment.
Other University of Auckland co-authors: Gretel Boswijk
- Johns, D. A. (2017). Conserving 14th to 19th century canoes in satellite facilities around Aotearoa, N.Z. Paper presented at Plankton Planet - An Epic Voyage through our chnaging seas, New Zealand Maritime Museum, Auckland. 6 July - 6 July 2017.
- Irwin, G., Johns, D. A., Flay, R. G. J., Munaro, F., Yung, Y., & Mackrell, T. A. (2017). A review of archaeological Maori canoes (waka) reveals changes in sailing technology and maritime communications in Aotearoa/New Zealand, AD 1300-1800. Journal of Pacific Archaeology, 8 (2), 31-43. Related URL.
Other University of Auckland co-authors: Geoffrey Irwin, Richard Flay, Tim Mackrell
- Johns, D. A. (2016). Interpreting 14th -15th century Maori canoes. Paper presented at James Jenkins Biennial lecture 2016, Tahuna Beach Conference Centre, Nelson, New Zealand. 15 September - 15 September 2016.
- Johns, D. A., Irwin, G. J., & Sung, Y. K. (2014). An early sophisticated East Polynesian voyaging canoe discovered on New Zealand’s coast. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of USA, 111 (41), 14728-14733. 10.1073/pnas.1408491111
Other University of Auckland co-authors: Geoffrey Irwin
- Johns, D. A. (2013). Post-Excavation Treatment Methods for Waterlogged Organic Archaeological Materials: The last 20 years. In F. Menotti, O'Sullivan A (Eds.) The Oxford Handbook of Wetland Archaeology. Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press. 10.1093/oxfordhb/9780199573493.013.0040
- Johns, D. A. (2011). Condition Report for Uenuku - a Tainui taonga. For Tai timu, tai paru- journey of a people exhibition, Te Papa Tongarewa, Museum of New Zealand, Wellington. Independent Report