Over the centuries following his death, and subsequent canonization, the stories morphed into the myth of Santa Claus that we know today.
Many of the relics and bones attributed to St Nicholas are thought to be held in a church in Bari, Italy, while some others are reportedly in Venice.
The Waikato Radiocarbon Dating Laboratory was established in 1974 by Prof.
Alex Wilson in anticipation of geomorphology and tephrostratigraphy projects looking at landform processes in the Waikato region.
The relics held in Venice consist of as many as 500 bone fragments, which an anatomical study concluded were complementary to the Bari collection, suggesting that both sets of relics could originate from the same individual.
It remains to be confirmed what fragments of the pelvis are contained amongst the Venice relics, if any.
Seven staff are now employed in the University of Waikato Radiocarbon Dating Laboratory.
The legend of Santa Claus is inspired by the story of St Nicholas, a Christian saint who died around 343 CE.
Henry Polach (formerly Australian National University) improving the vacuum lines and counting procedures.
The team from Oxford University has started the hunt for Santa's bones by examining a small pelvis bone-fragment owned by Father Dennis O'Neill in Illinois, USA, who obtained the bone from Lyon in France.
The lack of a full pelvis bone in the Bari collection inspired the Oxford team to try to analyze the authenticity of this relic.
Dr Kazan added: ‘Where once we needed physical portions of a bone sample, we can now test milligram-sized micro-samples - opening up a new world of archaeological study.’In the 16th century stories about St Nicholas become popular, and the legend of Father Christmas was born.
December 6 is known and celebrated in several European countries – particularly Holland, as St Nicholas Feast Day.