29 Nov 2012

More museums consider repatriating Maori remains

6:35 am on 29 November 2012

Te Papa Museum says more museums around the world are starting to contact them to repatriate Maori human remains and have been inspired by other institutions.

The national museum received four Maori ancestral koiwi tangata from the United States and Canada, with two of them driven straight to Waipapa Marae in Kawhia in Waikato on Wednesday.

Karanga Aotearoa Repatriation team manager Te Herekiekie Herewini said overseas institutions have seen other ancestors come back to Aotearoa.

He said they see the real value in reuniting the remains with their traditional homelands.

Mr Herewini said that since a high profile repatriation project from France earlier in the year, foreign custodians of Maori human remains are acknowledging how Te Papa Museum is working with a genuine purpose and working on behalf of Maori and the Crown.

Mr Herewini said Stanford University in San Francisco, the Montreal Fine Arts Museum and a private collector in Oklahoma have all been directly in contact with Te Papa to give back their Maori remains collection to iwi in New Zealand.