This ancient swamp kauri table is actually a treasure map to a beautiful place 'not visited by many'

A Bay of Plenty carver and artist is selling a unique piece of furniture which contains a treasure map to a hidden natural beauty "not visited by many".

Creator Joe McEnteer put more than a year into the work, hiding a secret equation in its details leading to an unseen natural treasure. Source: Supplied

Joe McEnteer's creation, a 150kg ancient swamp kauri table inlaid with various artefacts and items called Taonga Taniwha Tepu, is up for sale with a starting bid of more than $18,500.

After carting the piece between "a number of flats" over the years, the idea for the piece began to develop when he "just started sanding it".

"As I added things into the holes and crevices I started to see pictures and scenes and elements and I started thinking, well, what are some of the natural treasures of New Zealand?

"Things like the pohutakawa flower and huhu beetles ... so I added these things in as I went and it kind of naturally came about."

A detailed image of Joe McEnteer's Taonga Taniwha Tepu piece. Source: Supplied

The table took more than a year of work to create and was completed in 2012 - it has been in storage for some time and was also used as Mr McEnteer's own desk.

The wood was procured from Mr McEnteer's hapu as the result of a coming of age trip he took deep into the forests of the Hauraki District - a place special to his iwi Ngati Maru.

A multitude of hidden clues exist in and on the table, which can be assembled into an "equation" which will lead to an experience.

"For the adventurous at heart, here is a secret that still waits lying undiscovered," Mr McEnteer wrote on the auction page.

A detailed image of Joe McEnteer's Taonga Taniwha Tepu piece. Source: Supplied

"You must have a keen eye and a curious mind, an intrepid journey that will lead you on an adventure of your own, deep into the wild to place not visited by many."

For those unable to solve the map's puzzle, Mr McEnteer says he is happy to let the new owner know if they are on the right track.

However, he warns that the journey to find the treasure is "dangerous" and "full of extremely challenging terrain".

"The map does not lead to any treasure that can be easily converted into financial gains ... on finding it you will become rich, but please don't expect to become financially wealthy," he wrote.

The ideal buyer would be a group who would position it in a place where it can be used by a lot of people "to see and experience".

A detailed image of Joe McEnteer's Taonga Taniwha Tepu piece. Source: Supplied

The wood used to create the table is estimated to be more than 6500 years old, Mr McEnteer says, as the mountain it comes from has had numerous pieces carbon dated by the facility at Waikato University at more than 12,000 years old.

Kauri trees take between 200 and 300 years to mature fully and can live to be thousands of years in age.

Many of the enormous trees have been buried and preserved in the water of peat swamps, and some examples have been dated at more than 45,000 years old.