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November 2009

Maori remains to return home

Posted by Michael Houlihan on 16 November 2009

Today’s a special day at National Museum Cardiff, as a private repatriation ceremony takes place which will see the skeletal remains of 12 Maoris being sent back from Wales to New Zealand. It’s the first time the Museum has held such a ceremony, and I think it's important that the remains are returned to their country of origin. The ceremony itself will be quite different to the ones we usually see here! Before the remains are packed, a call and chant of acknowledgement is made. The remains - known as köiwi tangata - will then be greeted during the hour-long ceremony, which will be attended by workers from the Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa, which has helped arrange the repatriation.

Following a closing prayer, all participants of the ceremony will press noses as part of the completion process and sprinkle water over their heads and bodies. I’m hopeful that this will lay the foundations for future collaborations between Amgueddfa Cymru and the Te Papa Museum.

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