28 Nov 2016

Graverobber: the story of Andreas Reischek

From Black Sheep, 9:00 am on 28 November 2016

In the 1880s Andreas Reischek stole four mummified corpses from an urupa near Kawhia so he could sell them to a museum in his native Austria.

The bodies made up just a fraction of a gigantic collection of preserved birds, lizards and Māori artifacts which Andreas collected while travelling around New Zealand.

Andreas Reischek

Andreas Reischek Photo: Te Ara/Public Domain

Unsurprisingly the theft of the bodies has seen Reischek branded an arch-villain of history, but researcher and translator Dr Sascha Nolden has uncovered new information about Reischek which, while not excusing his actions, does shed some light on his motivations.