A pathologist has identified the human skull found near Salisbury Wharf in Mount Maunganui as a pre-European adult Māori man.
Detective Sergeant Alan Kingsbury said the skull was found by a fisherman on August 6 and it would now be returned to Tauranga.
Local iwi would be consulted to organise a final resting place.
Police thanked members of the public who provided information relating to the skull.
Last week police divers searching through part of Tauranga Harbour after the skull was found, found more bones.
The bones were examined and determined to be animal bones, a police spokeswoman said.