If the tattooed heads must be returned to NZ, shouldn’t the guns go back to Europe?

November 14, 2014
Fred failed to return from his head-gathering trip, but look what's arrived instead...

Fred failed to return from his head-gathering trip, but look what’s arrived instead…

Our indigenous persons must be hooting with great delight, once they’ve finished weeping and wailing during ceremonies to welcome the return of tattooed heads from overseas.

Whether they can tell which heads belong to which tribes is a good question.

Whether they have been reclaiming pakeha heads – it transpires – is another good question.

This account of what’s going on from an American perspective was given a year ago in USA Today:

WELLINGTON, New Zealand — Even the roar of gale-force winds couldn’t drown out the weeping and wailing of dozens of New Zealand Maoris as they welcomed home ancestors.

The arrival this month of the remains of 13 Maori warriors from collections at museums and universities in England, Ireland and the islands of Guernsey, was a victory for the indigenous people of New Zealand.

For decades, Maoris from this South Pacific island have been fighting with institutions around the world for the return of an estimated 600 preserved tattooed heads known as toi moko, and skeletal remains called koiwi tangata.

The Maoris persuaded France and England to turn over some public collections, but hundreds of known remains worldwide have not come home.

Read the rest of this entry »

Maori would be better off – wouldn’t they? – trying to get ahead instead of trying to get heads

May 13, 2011

Alf prepared some questions for asking in Parliament this week, but a caucus colleague advised him against asking them in that forum.

He thought our Maori Party coalition partners might take serious cultural offence.

Fair enough. We might need their votes to have Budget legislation enacted.

But Alf remains very curious.

He wants to know how many people are needed to bring a few mummified tattooed Maori heads back to this country. Lots, it seems.

Read the rest of this entry »