Pōwhiri for Māori ancestral remains arriving from America

updated By Heeni Brown
  • Wellington

The largest repatriation of Māori and Moriori ancestral remains have finally been welcomed home after more than a 100 years in America.

The remains include 35 preserved Māori tattooed heads, two tattooed thigh skins, 24 Moriori skeletal remains and 46 Māori skeletal remains returned to Te Papa. 

The remains of Māori ancestors returned to home soil this morning after the long journey they've endured.

With people unable to hold back their tears and laments for the biggest repatriation ever returned to Aotearoa.

According to Te Papa's Karanga Aotearoa Repatriation Programme, the return of Māori and Moriori remains began 10 years ago.

For Karanga Aotearoa, the trade of ancestral remains like Toi Moko, is an integral part of New Zealand and Māori history.

The remains are part of a repatriation negotiation between Te Papa Museum and New York's American Museum of Natural History.

This is just the beginning.  According to Karanga Aotearoa, there are more than 600 ancestral remains all over the world waiting to be brought home.