Man returns mere pounamu stolen from Auckland Museum

Source: 1News

The man who stole a mere pounamu from Auckland Museum has kept his word and returned it.

By Yvonne Tahana

CCTV vision from 2019 shows Cedar Erueti taking an important Ngāti Porou taonga from Auckland Museum. An Auckland District Court judge found he'd been suffering from delusions when he took Pokaiwhenua and so was found not guilty by reason of insanity.

Earlier this month he told the court he'd had made arrangements to return it.

But last week he contacted 1News after he'd had trouble getting a hold of anyone a the museum, reporting that he'd been told that he might have to wait four to five weeks for someone to see him.

READ MORE: Mistaken mere identity: Aroha for man who stole the wrong taonga

Ngāi Tahu have had someone dedicated to finding it since the theft. That woman Puamiria Parata, was able to connect Cedar to iwi members.

Intense Māori diplomacy efforts have been at play because Cedar accidentally took a Ngāti Porou taonga, instead of an intended mere from his own iwi.

On Friday, in front of iwi members, clinical supporters and his father, the 29-year-old took a deep breath and said two simple words before handing Pokaiwhenua over to an aunty.

"Aroha nui."