Hawke's Bay police urge return of stolen taonga
Fourteen taonga have been stolen from a rural property near Hastings.
A local resident had been caring for the artefacts, which were stolen from a house in Pakipaki on Friday night.
The items include several pounamu (Greenstone) mere - broad-bladed weapons shaped like enlarged tear drops - all about 30cm long and 10cm wide.
There is also a whale bone patu - a club - and a ceremonial adze with a pounamu blade.
All the items were registered as taonga - treasured items - at Te Papa and are believed to date back to the 1800s.
Detective Sergeant Craig Vining said the items had great value, both culturally and monetarily.
"The thieves will be aware of both of these things. We appeal to the people who took these items to return them immediately so they can be cared for by their proper guardians and remain in their turangawaewae.
"This will have a major impact on local Maori. We appeal to the thieves to do the right thing and bring the taonga home."
Three different vans and a forest-green sedan were seen in the area at the time and police would like to speak to all the drivers and owners of those vehicles.
Anyone with information should contact Vining on (06) 2113917 or Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.