5 Oct 2012

Maori and Moriori remains being repatriated

4:02 pm on 5 October 2012

Ancestral remains of Maori and Moriori are to be officially welcomed back to New Zealand with a repatriation ceremony on Monday.

Fourteen koimi tangata Moriori (ancestral remains of Moriori people) and six tangata Maori (Maori ancestral remains) were gifted to museums in Sydney and Perth between 1899 and 1932.

Ceremonies are underway in Sydney and Perth to give the remains to the Karanga Aotearoa repatriation programme, which brings ancestral remains back from across the world.

A ceremony to welcome the remains back to New Zealand will be held at the national museum Te Papa Tongarewa.

The museum's Kaihautu (Maori leader), Michelle Hippolite, says the bones are thought to be the last remains which have been in Australia.

Other remains including bones and Toi Moko (heads) from San Francisco, Montreal and Oklahoma will be repatriated in November.