October 31, 2013
Toi moko welcomed back to Te Papa
Toi moko and koiwi from Britain were this morning welcomed to Te Papa Tongarewa.
Museum kaihautu Arapata Hakiwai says it has taken almost a decade to get the museums and institutions in England, Guernsey and Ireland to release the shrunken heads and skeletons.
There are still more than 600 ancestral remains in museums around the world being targeted for repatriation in the Karanga Aotearoa project.
He says there is a lot of emotion involved.
"Meeting tipuna that are well before your time in te ao kohatu, and all sorts of things come to your mind. The first thing is karakia and mihi and greet them talk to them, tell them where you are from, why you are there to wrest them back, it won't be long before you return home," Mr Hakiwai says.
The koiwi and toi moko will be stored in a waahi tapu at the national museum until their source iwi can be identified and they can be returned for burial.
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