The human skull that was found behind Nelson Airport by fishermen in March.

Skull was a young woman’s


A human skull found by two fishermen in March has been examined and found to be from a Polynesian woman, most likely from before European settlement of Nelson.

Mackenzie Rose and her partner found the skull on the edge of the Waimea Estuary, behind Nelson Airport, when they went to go fishing.

They called the police, who sent the skull, along with some other bone fragments, to Otago University to be examined.

Police spokeswoman Barbara Dunn says the results are back and show the remains were found to be from a Polynesian woman, believed to have been under 30 years of age. “We are now making arrangements for them to be returned to a site dedicated for koiwi at Marsden Valley Cemetery.”

Mackenzie said at the time that it was a strange situation.

“We were just walking along the estuary when we saw it. We didn’t know if it was real or not, but I picked it up and we could tell right away that it was real.”