Story: Tā moko – Māori tattooing

Repatriation of kōiwi tangata, 2009

Repatriation of kōiwi tangata, 2009

In a solemn procession, boxes containing the skeletal remains of 35 Māori are carried onto Rongomaraeroa, the marae at the Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa, in 2009. The kōiwi are likely to have included toi moko (tattooed and preserved heads), since these were among the prized New Zealand ethnological items collected by overseas museums. The women in this photo wear garlands of green leaves as a sign of mourning for the people whose remains are finally returning to their homeland. 

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New Zealand Herald
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Photograph by Mark Mitchell

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How to cite this page:

Rawinia Higgins, 'Tā moko – Māori tattooing - Contemporary moko', Te Ara - the Encyclopedia of New Zealand, http://www.TeAra.govt.nz/en/photograph/41251/repatriation-of-koiwi-tangata-2009 (accessed 17 July 2019)

Story by Rawinia Higgins, published 5 Sep 2013