Human remains unearthed in Christchurch

A human skull believed to be more than 100 years old has been dug up by a couple installing a new garage.

Police were called after the discovered at a property in the inner-Christchurch suburb of Opawa, on Saturday afternoon.

A pathologist examined the skull and teeth and determined they were "likely" those of a middle-aged Maori who died in the late 1800s, Detective Sergeant Joel Syme said today.

The bones possibly belonged to a woman.

"There's nothing to suggest we are dealing with a suspicious death," Syme said.

"We've spoken to the coroner and, given the likely age of the skull, they won't be exercising jurisdiction so it will be turned over to local iwi."

A husband and wife had been preparing to lay a concrete pad for a garage at their home when they found the human remains.

"I think they were certainly surprised," Syme said, adding such finds were rare.

Police would not give the location of the discovery because the couple wanted to remain anonymous. 

The Press