Maori bones return to Te Papa

Last updated 05:00 05/10/2012

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Maori and Moriori remains gifted to Australia in 1924 are coming home, eight years after Te Papa first asked about their return.

Fourteen sets of Maori remains and six sets of Moriori remains had been held in Sydney's J L Shellshear Museum, while a further two sets of Maori remains were held by the Western Australian Museum in Perth, Te Papa kaihautu Michelle Hippolite said.

They were donated to Australia by a visiting Otago University representative, H D Skinner, in 1924.

Te Papa first asked about the return of the remains from the two museums in 2004 and while Perth was quick to offer them back, Sydney stalled - possibly due to staffing shortages.

Research into where in New Zealand the remains came from would be carried out on their return but it was believed some were from the Chatham Islands and others from the King Country.

A ceremony at the Te Papa marae would mark their return home of the remains on Monday.

It would be similar to last year's return of Maori remains that had been in European museums since the 19th century.

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- © Fairfax NZ News

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