Flavell welcomes return of ancestral remains

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MIL OSI – Source: New Zealand Government – Return of ancestral remains welcomed

Māori Development Minister, Hon Te Ururoa Flavell, today attended a pōwhiri at Te Papa to receive ancestral remains returned from an Austrian museum including the remains of a high ranking child taken from its burial cave more than 100 years ago.

“I welcome this gesture of goodwill and leadership by the Austrian Government, which signals the importance of returning Māori ancestral remains to their communities of origin,” Mr Flavell says.

The remains have been returned from the Weltmuseum Wien (World Museum Vienna) in Austria following a formal request from Te Papa in 2013.

The remains are made up of:

  • An infant mummy belonging to Tainui, collected by Andreas Reischek from Kāwhia
  • Nine human vertebrae with a piece of flax weaving, collected by Andreas Reischek from Te Taitokerau/ Northland
  • A coffin with skeletal remains from three different individuals, collected by Andreas Reischek from Te Taitokerau/Northland
  • A Toi moko collected by Johann Georg Schwarz.

“I am grateful to Te Papa for carrying out this important work on behalf of New Zealand. Since 2003 Te Papa has repatriated more than 350 ancestral remains from overseas institutions. However, there’s still a long way to go, with officials estimating another 550 ancestral remains are still to return home.”

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