A Northland elder has cast doubt on the claims of an Auckland man that he is about to rebury the bones of Hone Heke.
David Rankin, whose hapu descends from a sibling of the great Ngapuhi chief, announced two years ago that he had retrieved the bones of his ancestor from a burial cave south of Kaikohe.
But Ngati Hine leader Erima Henare said the cave was sealed in the early 1970's after two hitchhikers found it.
He said he was surprised when Mr Rankin said he had recovered the bones, because he wondered how he moved the boulder and the concrete that was set around it.
Mr Rankin says he did not have to move any boulders and is adamant the bones he retrieved are those of Hone Heke.
Hone Heke died of TB in Kaikohe in 1850, leaving no direct descendants.