An ancient argillite adze has been found by a member of the public in Wairarapa.
The toki (adze) - sometimes used as a carving tool - is considered to be a taonga tūturu, or a genuine artefact. It was discovered in Lake Onoke in May this year.
Ancient Maori taonga such as the adze are protected under law, and people are required to notify the Ministry for Culture and Heritage or their local museum if they happen to discover them.
The ministry's Manager for Heritage Operations, David Butts, says they have informed Ngati Kahungunu ki Wairarapa and Rangitane tribes about the find.
Mr Butts says once the ministry has been notified that a taonga has been found and it is clearly a taonga tuturu under the terms of the legislation, it is required to notify the public that an artefact has been found and also must contact the tangata whenua of the area.
The next process is for either of the two iwi to make a claim, which will be then submitted to the Maori Land Court, he said.