Friday, November 13, 2009

Let them really come home Te Papa

Good - they are coming home - now Te Papa, give our people back to our people. Don't perpetuate the abuse by keeping them in locked vaults or display cases - give them back and let them really come home to their people i say!
"Te Papa will this month repatriate ancestral Maori remains from five European institutions.
The remains of 33 Maori would return to New Zealand from the National Museum of Wales, Gothenburg Natural History Museum in Sweden, the Museum of World Culture in Sweden, Glasgow University's Hunterian Museum in Scotland, and Trinity College in the Republic of Ireland."
"The majority of the remains were koiwi tangata (skeletal remains) and four toi moko (tattooed preserved heads).
The remains would be welcomed on to Te Papa's marae in a ceremony on November 30.
Te Papa's acting chief executive Michelle Hippolite said the repatriation was "both a time for sad reflection on the turbulent journeys these ancestors experienced and, at the same time, a cause for joy and hope as they are returned".
She thanked the institutions involved for their decisions to repatriate the remains and their support in planning the repatriation."
The real joy and hope will be when they are returned to their descendants, not kept in some institution.

Footnote - Just to clarify - I am not against museums and the great work they do. But imagine if there was an effort to take taonga back to the people. Celebrations, building, training, learning, storytelling, all of those things could be developed to turn the returning into a celebration for everyone. Start small, test it out, see if it works. Talk to iwi. But until move along that path a bit I do appreciate all of the efforts to protect our treasures - thanks and please don't stop doing it - but let's start to create a new paradigm, a new way of honouring our past and our shared future.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Kia Ora Marty,

The trouble is that it seems very difficult to identify the remains. Often moko is not authentic and there is no way of telling where these people are from. Unless we create a version of the tomb of the unknown warrior many remains will never go home. They are home but not home.

That is the issue.