A collection of traditional Māori gardening tools returned home yesterday after more than a decade of negotiations.

Auckland University returned the collection to the descendants of the people who made the instruments and instead of being locked away out of sight, the tāonga will now be displayed at a number of marae up north.

The artefacts were discovered a decade ago by the Finlaysons, a northern farming family.

Since then, they've been in the care of the Ministry for Culture and Heritage.

Now they're finally going home to be divided between the three marae of Parawhenua, Te Rawhitiroa and Tauwhara.

The Ministry for Culture and Heritage says the object is significant in that they're a snapshot of the times of our ancestors, and they were surprised to see the objects in such great condition.

The Auckland Museum acknowledges that they've been the caretakers of these objects for a long time, but say it's time they go home.

The artefacts will be welcomed home today at Tauwhara Marae, Waimate North to realise their dream to see the garden of Taiamai flourish.