Major work is being done to return the oldest carved wharepuni to its original form, which includes getting back parts of it which are overseas.
Te Hau Ki Tūranga is at Te Papa Tongarewa Museum and is to be returned to Rongowhakaata in its treaty settlement, after being taken by the Crown nearly 150 years ago.
A negotiator for the Poverty Bay iwi, Willie Te Aho, said parts of the meeting house have been painted over or replaced with taonga from other hapū, such as Ngāti Oneone.
He said specialists were doing tests to see what the original painted designed were.
Mr Te Aho said there were parts of the Te Hau Ki Tūranga in London and Rotorua which would need to be repatriated and brought home.
He also said there were some original taonga that were taken and no longer existed, which would need to be reconstruted.
Studies are underway to see if the meeting house can be moved to either of two local Poverty Bay spots, or whether it should stay at the museum.