The New Zealand High Commission in Kiribati says experts from the United States will be called in to identify the remains of 17 headless bodies.
Three weeks ago, the High Commission received information that the remains of some New Zealand soldiers, executed by the Japanese during World War II, were behind a priest's house.
The New Zealand High Commissioner in Kiribati, Robert Kaiwai, says the remains could also belong to Japanese, Korean or American soldiers.
"We've got to a stage now where we've uncovered a number of bodies and that's been two weeks of digging. But we haven't touched anything, we haven't moved anything. We're not forensic pathologists, we need an expert to come in and identify what nationality the people are that are in there and basically take it from there."
The New Zealand High Commissioner in Kiribati, Robert Kaiwai