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Sweden hands over Maori remains

AFP/The Local · 18 Nov 2009, 15:28

Published: 18 Nov 2009 15:28 GMT+01:00

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The handover was carried out at the Museum of World Culture in Gothenburg, spokeswoman Tina Sjögren said, explaining that remains held in two museums, the National History Museum and the Museum of World Culture were being returned to New Zealand.

Two representatives from the Museum of New Zealand Te Papa and New Zealand's ambassador to Sweden Barbara Bridge took part in a traditional ceremony held at Gothenburg's Museum of World Culture.

"We are going to do a traditional Maori ceremony ... we are talking to the spirits and acknowledging that even though the bodies are departed the spirits have followed us and are in our memory," Teherekiekie Herewin, the manager of repatriation at the Museum of New Zealand, told AFP.

Herewin explained Sweden was returning one skull, one skeleton, two arm fragments and one hand that had been mummified.

The remains come from at least three and up to five individuals.

"The information from the museums indicated that (the remains) are Maori and they are from New Zealand, but there are very little details" about the remains and where they are from, Herewin said.

The director of the National Museums of World Culture said his museums were now aiming "to work actively for the repatriation of human remains younger than around 200 years," adding that human remains in Western museums were "mostly the result of colonial relationships and a racist view of the world," he said in a statement.

Story continues below…

On Saturday Sweden returned 22 skulls taken from Hawaii.

Swedish museums have since 2004 returned the remains of dozens of Aborigines to Australia and a totem pole to a Canadian aboriginal tribe.

AFP/The Local (news@thelocal.se)

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Your comments about this article

16:22 November 18, 2009 by misssh
Can they also fly me home to wellington and give me a send of ceremony?
22:00 November 18, 2009 by karex
Good show!
22:50 November 18, 2009 by RoyceD
the remains are Maori... and from New Zealand... thanks for clearing that up.

But I guess the real question is what did the Swedish Authorities of the time do with them when they got their hands on them.
03:24 November 19, 2009 by Davey-jo
They're going to talk to the spirits; I bet that will be an interesting conversation. What tosh!
10:36 November 19, 2009 by karex

Respect and consideration for others' beliefs and what they hold important is a direct measurement of mankind's social maturity and advancement.
11:01 November 19, 2009 by misssh
Karex : I agreed!!!

Its called culture s##t for brains which lead´s me to presuming you have very little of that
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