July 08, 2022
Moriori ancestors welcomed to Te Papa
Māori and Moriori gathered at Te Papa Tongarewa this morning to welcome back the remains of ancestors trapped in a London museum for more than a century.
The collection of 111 kōimi t’chakat Moriori or Moriori skeletal remains were taken from Rēkohu – Chatham Islands for collection, trade and research.
Te Papa’s repatriation programme has been talking to London’s Natural History Museum for 15 years about their return.
Taku Parae from Ngāti Toa Rangatira says the hokomaurahiri repatriation ceremony was a solemn but proud occasion.
“It reminds us of our connections and the power of whakapapa and it allows us also to be able to grieve and to be able to welcome them with tears and proud hearts and also allows us to think about the future around these things and we need to keep searching until everyone is home,” he says.
As well as the Natural History Museum collection, the hokomaurahiri acknowledged the return of almost 200 Moriori karāpuna remains from Otago University, Tūhura Otago Museum, Canterbury Museum, Whanganui Regional Museum and Auckland War Memorial Museum.