A third claimant has emerged for 24 pre-European agricultural tools unearthed during the 2007 Kerikeri bypass development.
Maori Land Court Judge David Ambler will head a mediation hearing at the Turner Centre in Kerikeri on June 20-21 to examine claims for the tools lodged years ago by the Ngai Te Wake ki Tamaki Trust and Te Runanga o Ngati Rehia.
But now the judge and other mediators, whose names have yet to be confirmed, may also have to consider a claim which Hone Mihaka, of Waimate North, told the Northern Advocate he was lodging on behalf of Nga Hapu o Taiamai-Te Waimate and Kororipo/Kerikeri.
The Ministry of Culture and Heritage decides who should have custody of taonga tuturu artefacts like the tools, and any interested party can claim ownership through the Maori Land Court.
However, once it publicly notifies claim applications as open, the ministry has a 60 working day time limit on lodging claims and the hapu application would be long past this deadline.
Maori Land Court registrar Pauline Hopa, of Whangarei, was unable to confirm yesterday whether the hapu claim had been received and she declined to comment on how the court might deal with the late application.
Mr Mihaka told the Advocate that when he and others from the Taiamai-Waimate-Kerikeri hapu attended a court hearing in 2009 about the taonga tupuna found during the bypass development they learned the matter had been publicly notified in 2007.
The claim which was to be filed this week says their ancestors were living around Kororipo and Kerikeri well before the arrival of Ngai Te Wake and Ngati Rehia.
Mr Mihaka said that while the claim was made on behalf of Nga Hapu o Taiamai-Waimate-Kerikeri, for the purposes of representation he was primarily kaikorero for the hapu of Ngati Hineira, Te Uri Taniwha, Te Whanau Whero and Ngati Korohue.
"The position of Ngati Hineira and Te Uri Taniwha is that we have a close association to and hold mana whenua in Te Kerikeri, Kororipo and Manako areas including the islands of the inlet."
Meanwhile, the ministry this week opened applications for the ownership of a wooden toki or adze handle found during road works in the Whangarei suburb of Otangarei in November last year.