Hastings man Jacob Poulain wishes to find the relatives of a soldier whose photo he found hidden beneath artwork he bought at a garage sale years ago.

Jacob Poulain bought the artwork, a tapestry, 15 years ago at a Hastings garage sale.

It was not the tapestry that caught his eye, but the "beautiful old oak frame" it was in.

When removing the tapestry from the frame he found the photo hidden beneath it.

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"It may be an ancestor of a local Hawke's Bay person or family," he said.

The name, Sergeant Sullivan, is written on the back and Mr Poulain said he thought the timing was right, with Anzac day on Monday, to find the family and return the photo to its rightful owner.

"It's been sitting in my shed for quite a few years. I would like to give it to the family somehow."

Mr Poulain contacted Hawke's Bay Today this week, hoping readers might be able to spread the word about this long lost photo.

The man in the photo would have to be somebody's great-great grandfather.

He thought the soldier was wearing a World War I uniform, which was confirmed by retired returned serviceman John Stables.

Mr Stables said he surmised the emblem on the uniform showed this soldier was part of the New Zealand Rifle Brigade during World War I.

He said the three stripes on the uniform confirmed the soldier was in fact a sergeant.

Despite his love for the wooden frame, the Hastings man said he was happy to return them together.

"It's a beautiful photo."

-If you know who this soldier might be, or if you have any information about the whereabouts of his family please contact Hawke's Bay Today.