19 Apr 2012

Retuning Maori remains to stay in closed cases

10:15 am on 19 April 2012

Te Papa Tongarewa has ruled that cases carrying Maori ancestral skeletal remains returning from overseas will stay shut during official welcoming ceremonies at the national museum.

Tainui kaumatua Te Wareta Taua recently asked for the case lids to be removed.

He says he made the request when 20 preserved Maori tattooed heads were returned from France at the end of January, but his appeal was rejected.

The museum's manager of the repatriation of toi moko and koiwi tangata, Te Herekiekie Herewini, says Te Papa has a duty to preserve the remains.

Mr Herewini says however that the repatriation team plans to find out what iwi think about the matter.

A series of hui will be held until the end of next year to tell tribes about the repatriation of toi moko.

The team is due to visit the Lake Taupo region to talk to Tuwharetoa on the weekend of 21-22 April.