The remains of 7 ancestors have been repatriated to Ngāti Manu by the Museum of Whanganui after DNA testing traced them to Ōpua.
“This is a great occasion for us of Ngāti Manu, the return of the bones of our ancestors who were stolen from Ōpua.”
Speaking on behalf of Ngāti Manu, Arapeta Hamilton says the bones were taken by Pākehā last century and found their way to the Whanganui Museum.
“These bones are treasures of our ancestors, to us they're very special treasures,” he says.
Last year the Museum of Whanganui approached Ngāti Manu to inform them of the discovery and discuss the most appropriate way to repatriate the remains in accordance with the tribes' protocols.
“We said they should be returned home to Taumarere, to be buried by us, that's what's happening today,” says Hamilton.
This is the first repatriation for Ngāti Manu.
“Although it's a sad occasion there is joy that these ancestors are returning home.”
The remains will be buried in a sacred resting place.