Precious paintings of Maori ancestors have been stolen from a central North Island Maori trust's boardroom.

Te Kuiti Police say they are making inquiries after receiving a complaint from the Maniapoto Trust Board after a number of items were removed from the trust's building yesterday.

The Maniapoto Māori Trust Board posted on social media that paintings of tūpuna were taken from the Te Kuiti boardroom without the knowledge of either the trustees or staff.

Waikato district police staff and iwi liaison officers were helping with the inquiry phase and speaking to all parties.


The removal of the precious artefacts had shaken the trust.

The trust said it was a serious matter and had handed it over to the police to resolve.

"As Trustees, we are sad at what has occurred and are determined that due process will see our whakaahua returned in a prompt and safe manner by those involved," the post read.

E te Iwi Early this morning, paintings of Maniapoto tūpuna were taken from our Board room without knowledge of the...

Posted by Maniapoto Māori Trust Board on Monday, 22 August 2016

One disbelieving woman posted that paintings from her family had been taken in the haul.

Posted Missy Te Kanawa: "These fullas took everyone's lines including our Nans - surreal stuff."

Sheena Maru said the paintings held special significance to all meeting in the room.

"Every time I've sat amongst hui in the MMTB Boardroom I was always mesmerised by those whakaahua. So much strength, determination and inspiration were captured - you could feel them amongst the korero. Kia kaha! Thoughts are with your Board and kaimahi."