8 Sep 2014

Tribe to trace origins of ancient adze

9:18 am on 8 September 2014

A Wairarapa hapu wants to study the carvings of an ancient argillite adze found on the shores of Lake Onoke so it can trace where it has come from.

Lake Onoke

The ancient argillite adze was found in Lake Onoke in May. Photo: PHOTO NZ

The toki - sometimes used as a carving tool - is considered to be a taonga tuturu (genuine artefact) made in pre-European times.

It was found in May on the shores of the lake where other taonga have been found before.

The Ministry for Culture and Heritage is liaising with Ngati Kahungunu ki Wairarapa and Rangitane tribes about the find.

A hapu with links to both iwi, Ngati Hinewaka, is going through the process of making a claim over the taonga.

Its spokesperson Haami Te Whaiti said the sub-tribe would be tracing the origins of the toki by studying the carvings on it.

He said the great thing about finding the taonga was that it was protected under law where people who discovered them legally had to notify the Ministry for Culture and Heritage or hand them over to their local museum.

Mr Te Whaiti said it stopped precious items like these being kept in private collections.