May 15, 2017
Stolen skulls heading back from Sweden
A Swedish medical university is sending its Maori ancestral remains to the national museum Te Papa Tongarewa.
The Karolinska Institute in Stockholm collected indigenous remains from all parts of the world for research purposes.
These included two skulls taken in 1890 from wahi tapu in the Whangaroa area by Swedish natural historian Conrad Fristedt and a toi moko or tattooed preserved head gifted by London collector Henry Christy in 1862.
A third skull taken by Fristedt was repatriated from the University of Olso, Norway in 2011.
Karolinska medical history and heritage unit director Dr Eva Ã…hrÃ©n says the institute takes seriously its moral obligation to help repatriate remains of indigenous peoples from its historical collections.
Te Papa kaihautu Arapata Hakiwai says the Swedish government backed the transfer.
The Karolinska koiwi will be welcomed on to the marae at Te Papa on May 29, along with another 60 Maori and Moriori ancestral remains from three other European institutions.
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