1 Dec 2014

Ancestral remains to be repatriated

4:31 pm on 1 December 2014

Te Papa and the American Museum of Natural History have announced the largest repatriation of ancestral remains in New Zealand's history.

The remains include 35 toi moko, or preserved Maori tattooed heads, 24 koimi tangata, Moriori, or Moriori skeletal remains, and 46 koiwi tangata, or Maori skeletal remains.

The remains will be formally welcomed home at Te Papa but will ultimately be returned to their whanau.

The remains will be formally welcomed home at Te Papa but will ultimately be returned to their whanau. Photo: PHOTO NZ

The ancestral remains were collected from the early 1800s up until the 1900s when there was a strong commercial trade and network in 'indigenous peoples' remains' particularly in Europe and North America.

The physical handover of the remains will take place in New York early tomorrow morning New Zealand time.

The remains will be formally welcomed home at Te Papa in Wellington on Friday.

They will then go through a period of quarantine, conservation and research before being returned to their whanau.

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