Stewart Bull recently accompanied Department of Conservation (DoC) staff and others on a mission to locate a stone adze on Stewart Island.

A hunter discovered the adze lying in the bush while on a hunting trip to the island. The hunter managed to draw a picture of the adze and had mapped its location by GPS. He later passed the information onto DoC who in turn advised local iwi of the decision to retrieve the adze.

Stewart Bull, who was involved in the search, said it would have been an impossible task to locate the adze again if it wasn’t for the hunter. When the adze was finally located, Stewart performed a mihi and karakia.

The adze was made of argillite which had become quite oxidised and pounamu expert, Russell Beck identified the adze as originating from the Colac Bay area. Conservative estimates put the adze, which is of an earlier style, at 500 to 600 years old.

Stone adze heads (toki) were lashed to a wooden handle and used in working wood, including canoe building.

The find has been reported to the Ministry of Heritage and in due course local iwi will have the chance to stake a claim to this taonga.

The adze.