A waka is believed to be more than 150 years old has been recently discovered and rescued from Pātea River near New Plymouth.
"As soon as I saw it, I knew it was a waka from the old people because it was made of totara," Ngāti Ruanui historian Darren Ngarewa told 1news.
The waka was found intact and it was carefully pulled out of the river by the help of the local iwi and the Ministry of Culture and Heritage.
"We confirmed that it was made of totara, which was obviously connected to Māori... so very, very fortunate and very grateful," Ngāti Ruanui historian Darren Ngarewa told The Project.
It is believed that the waka was hidden by Te Pakakohi, Ngāti Ruahine, and Ngā Rauru to protect it from confistication by the Crown in 1869.
"This is not something we talk about, a tapu, because of the pain we suffered," Darren said.
"But with the waka coming out and the way it was coming out, it was unfolding as part of a bigger picture. Now maybe is the time to tell our story," he added.
What makes it even more significant is that the location where the waka was dicovered is where 154 years ago colonial forces imprisoned Māori chief Ngāwaka Taurua and elderly iwi members in Otago.
"We have spent so long reclaiming ourselves after so much interference by the Crown so to rediscover a part of our missing history, particularly on the 154th anniversary, is big for us," Ngāti Ruanui kaiarataki Debbie Ngarewa-Packer said.
"The significance of it being 154 years to the day that it was found and lifted out of when our tūpuna was captured and taken to trial into Dunedin is really significant," Ngarewa-Packer said.
"There is a lot to the reclaiming of the waka and as Darren said it's the whole community's. So it's our whakapapa but it belongs to the whole community to understand today."
Debbie hopes the waka will be displayed at the Pātea Museum so this piece of history is there look back on.