New Zealand fisherman found a 200-year-old relic in a river Dunedin

HAMISH MCNEILLY/STUFFA taiaha discovered in the Taieri River by local whitebaiter Trevor Griffin.

It is possibly the catch of the whitebaiting season.

Trevor Griffin hadn’t been for a couple of years, but on Wednesday’s opening day went whitebaiting with a friend on Otago’s Taieri River.

After catching some of the delicacy the pair noticed an unusual shaped object sticking about 20 centimetres out of the water.

“As soon as you touched it you realised it was something special.”

The two men pulled the object out of the water and sand below.

Griffin said he wanted to hang the item on a wall at home, but sent a picture to his partner who told him to take it to Otago Museum.

Wrapped in a blanket, the object was identified as a seven-foot long taiaha, which was kept in an isolation room before it was briefly unveiled to media on Friday.

HAMISH MCNEILLY / STUFFA taiaha discovered in the Taieri River by local whitebaiter Trevor Griffin.

Māori curator Rachel Wesley said it was believed the object was made from mānuka and estimated to be 200 years old.

It was not a ceremonial item, but a weapon “most likely” used in battle, she said.

It was found in an area where local tradition has it that a chief was killed mid-flight, jumping off a cliff known as Māori Leap to escape his pursuers – although proving that connection to the recovered item may be difficult, she said.

The item was photographed at the museum, before an official notification was sent to the Ministry of Culture and Heritage.

It was likely to be stored at Ōtakou Marae and eventually offered to local runanga, Wesley said.

This article was originally published by Stuff.co.nz. Read the original here.

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