A crozier, carved with Māori designs, is to be returned to a Northern iwi after the staff was gifted to an Auckland Anglican Church nearly 100 years ago for its services to the community.
Now, on the eve of the 200th anniversary of the Anglican Church at Oihi in the North, the crozier's return couldn't have come at a better time.
After nearly 100 years of being locked away in an Auckland church storage room, this embellished Māori crozier can finally see the light of day. Some are calling it a blessing from God.
Reverend Te Kitohi Pikaahu says, "The crozier was gifted by our old people in Oihi 100 years ago, because of their love of the Auckland Anglican Bishop, and now (it returns) 200 years later."
In 1914, the crozier was given to the then Anglican Bishop of Auckland, Bishop Averill, by Te Tai Tokerau iwi to highlight the work the church has done in the North.
"The crozier is meant to be the Shepherd's crook, our tribe was the driving force of this staff," says Rev. Pikaahu.
It was accidentally discovered earlier this year. Today it represents bicultural unity.
According to Rev. Pikaahu, "This year marks 200 years, this staff can finally be returned back to the hands of Māori. I was lucky enough to be involved and now the staff is back here in Te Tai Tokerau."
The church doesn't know who carved the crozier, but they hope someone may have information about its history.