Mummified Maori head is returned
Tuesday 10 May 2011
A French museum returned the mummified and tattooed head of a Maori to a delegation from New Zealand yesterday, a belated gesture to restore dignity to the first of 16 such human heads once displayed as exotic curiosities.
Maoris sang traditional songs during a ceremony at Rouen City Hall to hand over the head – which spent 136 years in a Normandy museum. "It's truly a solemn and symbolic day," New Zealand ambassador Rosemary Banks said.
For years, New Zealand has sought the return of Maori heads kept in collections abroad, many of which were traded for weapons and other goods. Maoris believe their ancestors' remains should be respected and left undisturbed in their home area.
Michelle Hippolite, a Maori spiritual leader and co-director of the museum in Wellington where the head will be taken, welcomed the return. She said that the other 15, at museums all around France, will be returned in 2012.
The Rouen Museum tried once before, in 2007, to return the head, but was stopped at the last minute by the French culture ministry. France considered human remains conserved in museums to be part of its cultural or scientific heritage. A law was passed last year allowing the return of the heads.
As Voltaire once said, “Ice cream is exquisite. What a pity it isn’t illegal”
- 1 Mother fed her daughter tapeworms to make her skinny for beauty pageant
- 2 Crystal Palace next manager latest: Palace consider Ally McCoist - EXCLUSIVE
- 3 Richard Dawkins on babies with Down Syndrome: 'Abort it and try again – it would be immoral to bring it into the world'
- 4 ALS ice bucket challenge co-founder Corey Griffin drowns, aged 27
- 5 Tim Sherwood column: 'It started as a three-horse race but turned into the Grand National'
'Alien thigh bone' on Mars: Excitement from alien hunters at 'evidence' of extraterrestrial life
West poised to join forces with Assad in face of Islamic State
Pamela Anderson rejects ice bucket challenge because of ALS experiments on animals: 'Mice had holes drilled into their skulls'
James Foley 'beheaded': Isis video shows militant with British accent 'execute US journalist' – as hunt begins for killer
ALS ice bucket challenge co-founder Corey Griffin drowns, aged 27
Richard Dawkins on babies with Down Syndrome: 'Abort it and try again – it would be immoral to bring it into the world'
Scottish independence: English people overwhelmingly want Scotland to stay in the UK
Isis threat: Cameron wants an alliance with Iran
Michael Brown shooting: Chaos erupts on the streets of Ferguson after autopsy shows teenager was shot six times – twice in the head
Bin bag full of cats' heads discovered near Manchester's Curry Mile
Disgusting, frustrating, but intriguing: how the country really feels about its politicians
£50000 - £60000 per annum: Harrington Starr: Network Engineer - CCNP, Hedge Fu...
£60000 - £70000 per annum: Harrington Starr: Senior Network Engineer-CCIE, Mul...
£30000 - £50000 per annum: Harrington Starr: Network Infrastructure Engineer (...
£35000 - £45000 per annum: Harrington Starr: Network Engineer (CCNP, BGP, Mult...