The carving was found in the year 1898 by Wilfred Fookes at Koru Pa during a high school picnic. He found the carving half above ground and half below ground. The piece that was above the ground has been damaged by exposure to the weather. The end that was buried was preserved by the mud that it was in. W. H. Skinner had bought the carving from the Fookes family and then donated it to the Taranaki Museum, now called Puke Ariki (”Hill of Chiefs/Kings” in Te Reo Maori) in 1918.
The carving is probably a paepae (bar, beam or door sill). Some of the experts at Puke Ariki think that the carving was above the chief’s door. They think this because of it’s red color that comes from the kokowai (red ochre) that is found on Mt. Taranaki. They do not know what sort of wood it is made of.
The carving is 2200-mm long and 280-mm wide. The carving shows five figures against a background. The figures are unlike many other Taranaki carvings because they do not have pointed heads. The experts cannot determine what sex the figures are.