09 May '11, 1am

New Zealand's 136-year wait for Maori head to end

PARIS - THE mummified and tattooed head of a Maori is returning to New Zealand after spending 136 years in a Normandy museum, a belated gesture to restore dignity to the first of 16 such human heads once displayed as exotic curiosities. The Rouen Museum tried once before, in 2007, to return the head but was stopped at the last minute by the Culture Ministry. France considers human remains conserved in museums to be among its cultural or scientific patrimony. A symbolic handover ceremony went ahead in Rouen in 2007. On Monday, it will be the real thing, thanks to a law passed a year ago that allows Maori heads in France to be returned to their homelands. An elaborate ceremony with incantations will be held at Rouen City Hall during Monday's handover of the head to New Zealand diplomats. For years, New Zealand has sought the return of Maori heads kept in collections abroad, ...

Full article: http://www.straitstimes.com/BreakingNews/TechandScience/S...

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