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Austria returns Indigenous remains to New Zealand

Wellington, Oct 2 (Prensa Latina) The remains of dozens of Indigenous Maori and Moriori people were officially received at New Zealand’s national museum in Wellington on Sunday, completing a repatriation process from Austria, where the bones have resided for more than 130 years.

The repatriation “powhiri”, or welcoming ceremony, in bitterly cold, wet conditions at Te Papa concluded when the remains of about 64 Maori and Moriori — the Indigenous people of mainland New Zealand and the Chatham Islands — were taken to the museum’s Rongomaraeroa Marae, a sacred resting place.

The remains left the Natural History Museum in Vienna six days ago and, according to the center’s records, most were collected by Austrian taxidermist and grave robber Andreas Reischek who lived 12 years in New Zealand, until 1889.

Te Papa Repatriation Council Chairman William Pou Temara praised that European museum’s deep commitment to righting the wrongs of the past, an effort he approached in a spirit of openness and reconciliation.


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