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'Opportunity to learn about ourselves' - two dozen taonga return to Northland after decade at Auckland university

More than two dozen wooden taonga will be returning to Northland tomorrow after a decade in Auckland University's care.

Parawhenua Marae will receive some of the pieces and plans to display them for whanau members.

Chairwoman Hinerangi Himiona told 1 NEWS being able to touch a piece of their tupuna's history without traveling to museums would be special.

"I don't think that our people should have to visit places to find out who they are when we have the opportunity to learn about ourselves," Ms Himiona said.

The wooden pieces, are mostly gardening tools and were found by a farmer in Waimate North.

They were brought to the university's conservation lab 14 years ago.

But determining who owned the taonga was a much longer job.

In taonga cases, the Crown assumes ownership until maori and the courts can figure out cross-claims.

Parawhenua Marae and two others negotiated for joint ownership.

However, Mrs Himiona said the marae took their time figuring out a solution, conscious of the divisions caused by previous finds.

Many taonga end up in labs to be preserved, but there are calls for them to be displayed for all to see. Source: 1 NEWS