July 06, 2022
London museum releases Moriori remains
Te Papa is preparing for the return of the largest-ever return of ancestors belonging to a single tribe – 111 Moriori kōimi t’chakat or skeletal remains.
The collection from London’s Natural History Museum also included the remains of two Māori ancestors.
The remains including skulls, mandibles, other parts of the body and a small number of complete skeletons, were taken from Rēkohu – Chatham Islands for collection, trade and research.
Friday’s hokomaurahiri repatriation ceremony will also include a welcome for almost 200 other Moriori remains from Otago University, Tūhura Otago Museum, Canterbury Museum, Whanganui Regional Museum and Auckland War Memorial Museum.
Te Papa’s kaihautū, Arapata Hakiwai says the repatriation from London is a culmination of 15 years of research and negotiation by the Moriori people and the Karanga Aotearoa repatriation programme.
Dr Hakiwai says he hopes it encourages other institutions around the world to follow suit.
Hokotehi Moriori Trust chair Maui Solomon says the ancestors will eventually be returned to their Rēkohu homeland.