9 Feb 2015

Rangitane tribe to study age of ancient adze

9:02 am on 9 February 2015

A Wairarapa tribe wants to study the age of an ancient argillite adze, which could prove who rightfully owns it.

Last year a pre-European toki was found on the shores of Lake Onoke in southern Wairarapa.

Three hapu which affiliate to Kohunui Marae, that links to Ngati Kahungunu, made the initial claim.

But, the Ministry of Culture and Heritage has now received a second claim from Rangitane o Wairarapa.

A Rangitane spokesperson Horipo Rumene said if the tests could prove that it pre-dated the arrival of Ngati Kahungunu into the Wairarapa area, then Rangitane, which was the original iwi could claim rightful ownership.

If forensic tests could determine how old the toki was then it would reveal which tribe it belonged to.

According to the history of Rangitane, it was one of the first tribes to settle in the area centuries before Ngati Kahungunu migrated there, Mr Rumene said.

Horipo Rumene said if it was proven that the adze was much older than when Ngati Kahungunu arrived there, then Rangitane believed it had a right to it.

He said in the meantime Rangitane was willing to work together with Ngati Kahungunu to resolve ownership rights.

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