Workers building a new highway on the outskirts of Taupo have found bones that may be from a family of the extinct bird, the moa.
The remains appear to be that of two adults and a smaller bird.
Taupo District Council says work stopped immediately, to allow for a comprehensive check of the site for any other remains, although none were found.
It says the bones have been sent to Auckland Museum for analysis.
Mayor Rick Cooper says if the bones are confirmed as moa, discussions will be held with interested parties, including iwi, on how they can be protected as cherished artefacts for the people of Taupo.