Underground Overground Archaeology

About Us

Based in central Christchurch, Underground Overground Archaeology is an innovative company, passionate about business, the redevelopment of heritage and character buildings and the archaeology of New Zealand and the Asia Pacific region.

The company’s diverse, international professional archaeology team cover a range of specialties whose depth of experience within the heritage and design industry is visible in the level of success and respect the business has generated. The professional attitude of our team and the innovative GIS and IT solutions we generate mean we work around the country and the globe to help clients manage their heritage and archaeological obligations.

Our Mission is to understand, investigate, manage and interpret New Zealand’s heritage and archaeological resources on behalf of clients iwi and other stakeholders, and deliver on their needs while providing efficient and professional heritage and archaeological services in the pursuit of enhancing the knowledge of New Zealand’s past.

Our Goals

  • Provide exceptional value to clients in the management of their heritage and archaeological needs.
  • Provide meaningful and sustainable employment for professional heritage and archaeological consultants.
  • Ensure positive and engaging relationships with iwi and other stakeholders in the archaeology of New Zealand.
  • Through successful business activity, create opportunities for the reuse and redevelopment of heritage buildings.
  • To lead the way in the development of professional standards in our industry.
  • Maintain the highest level of quality to ensure efficient and cost effective management of clients needs.
  • Promote heritage and archaeology in the community through public outreach, publication and communication of our research.

Key Personnel

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Dr Hayden Cawte
Managing Director

Born and raised in Ashburton, New Zealand, Hayden has had a keen interest in business, heritage and property. He has developed businesses in a range of industries including a very successful agricultural export company. Hayden has a PhD in archaeology and has studied at University College of London as a Marie Curie fellow and the University of Cambridge as an Evans Fellow. Hayden has experience lecturing at the University of Otago and James Cook University in Australia.

This background in archaeology has seen him work as a consultant and advisor in the mining industry and in city planning and property development. He has also completed a post-graduate diploma in commerce specialising in entrepreneurship.


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Kirsa Webb
Branch Manager

Kirsa has been a part of Underground Overground since early 2012 and is now the longest-serving staff member. Kirsa is born and raised on the Otago Peninsula and gained her science arts degree at the University of Otago before heading north. Along with being the branch manager, she specialises in built heritage, having recorded over 70 historic buildings, many of which were demolished as a result of the Christchurch earthquakes. Kirsa’s other specialities include West Coast archaeology, with a particular interest in industrial archaeology such as mining and railway. She is Section 45 approved.