Teresa Smith-Craig was at the hairdressers when she found out the pounamu stolen from her dead seven-year-old son's grave had finally been returned.

The large rock-sized greenstone was ripped from the headstone of Isachaar Smith-Craig's grave at Mangaroa Cemetery near Hastings last December, about a week after it had been placed there.

The family had given up hope, but about 12.30pm on Tuesday it was returned to the birdbath at the family home - including the pieces that broke off when the thieves tore it from its bolted spot on Isachaar's grave.

Isachaar was youngest of Smith-Craig's six children, died of a chest infection in 2007. He had been in a wheelchair for much of his life after an accident in a pool as a toddler.

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Teresa Smith-Craig and her family are overwhelmed with emotion that their son's greenstone which was stolen from his grave in December has been returned. Photo / File.
Teresa Smith-Craig and her family are overwhelmed with emotion that their son's greenstone which was stolen from his grave in December has been returned. Photo / File.

Teresa's husband Jamie said he received a phone call last week from someone who knew the whereabouts of the stone.

"We heard it would be returned because the people who had it couldn't touch it anymore. They couldn't move it wherever they had it ... it was stuck," he said.

The family said they were not interested in finding out or prosecuting the person or people responsible for taking the stone and were just thrilled to have it back.

"The person who dropped it off had nothing to do with it, we're not interested in any names. Greenstone to us is like mana, it's like gold."

Teresa Smith-Craig said she buys each of her children a greenstone when they turn 18, but for Isachaar she had to do something different.

She asked a favour of a friend in Canterbury to find her a greenstone she could put on his grave. He walked in a local river, continually saying a prayer and thinking of Isachaar.

After three hours he put his hands in the water and found giant rock of pounamu, and carried it for three hours to bring it out.

On a crisp autumn afternoon the polished greenstone rested in a bowl of water on a picnic table in their backyard with the family members resting their hands and rubbing the stone.

"It should always be in water, because that's where it comes from. We will put it back on Isachaar's grave, but we'll probably cement it this time.

"We're just so grateful to the community for everything they've done and also to Silver Fern Farms we work, they were just so supportive to us throughout the difficult time."