New Zealand recovers many bones and skeletons of Maori and Moriori ancestors

New Zealand recovers many bones and skeletons of Maori and Moriori ancestors

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After a 77-year wait, the National Museum of New Zealand, Te Papa, has recovered many bones and skeletons of the ancestors of the Maori and Moriori, the first inhabitants of New Zealand. Human remains exhumed and stolen by an Austrian taxidermist in the 19th century. A delegation from Vienna made the journey to return these human remains to Aboriginal communities in New Zealand. Report during the redemption ceremony.

With our correspondent in Wellington, Richard Tendler

As is often the case during the ‘powieri’, the traditional Māori ceremonies, there was great emotion when the bones of the ‘tupuna’, the Maori ancestors, were recovered.

Te Arikirangi Mamaku-Ironside leads the National Museum of New Zealand’s repatriation programme. He explains why his steps are necessary now in our contemporary societies: ” I think it’s really important for museums to look in the mirror and think about the origins of their collections. In cases where the collections come, for example, from a colonial context, it requires special attention as to whether or not these objects have a place in the museum. »

Still another 600 around the world

In total, the Natural History Museum in Vienna donated the remains of 64 people. ” This ‘collection’, as they call it in museums, is far more important here in New Zealand than it will ever be for science or in Vienna. explains Sabine Eggers, who runs the Vienna Museum’s international collection and who was responsible for this recovery on the Austrian side.

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Since 2003, New Zealand has recovered nearly 800 ancestral remains. She now hopes to bring back the remaining 600 around the world.

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