21 May 2015

Child's remains to be returned to New Zealand

12:30 pm on 21 May 2015

The mummified remains of a child of Tainui descent are being returned from Austria to Te Papa in Wellington.

Ancestral remains have been returned to Aotearoa, with a ceremony held today at Te Papa's marae, Te Hono Ki Hawaiki.

A ceremony was also held in December 2014 to welcome the return of more than 100 Māori and Moriori ancestral remains to New Zealand. Photo: RNZ / Laura Bootham

The remains were taken from the child's burial cave more than 100 years ago by the collector Andreas Reischek, who was well-known for his acquisition of Māori remains and taonga during the late 19th century.

A small delegation from Te Papa has travelled to the Weltmuseum in Vienna to formally receive the remains of the child, as well as three other sets of remains also collected by Mr Reischek.

A toi moko, or tattooed Māori skull, will also be repatriated.

After a pōwhiri at Te Papa next Monday, the remains will undergo a period of quarantine, conservation and research before being returned to their whānau.

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