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Location: Auckland, New Zealand

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Remains back at Te Papa

A moving powhiri was held at Te Papa museum this morning to welcome home 22 Maori skeletal remains repatriated from five British museums.

The koiwi tangata - human bones- which include a fish hook made from bone and a Moriori skull, were taken immediately to the powhiri at the Museum's marae following their arrival on an overnight Air New Zealand flight.

Following the powhiri attended by Te Papa staff and local iwi the remains were taken from the marae to a tapu lifting ceremony.

The koiwi tangata will not go on display with museum researchers attempting to identify where they were originally taken from so they can be returned to iwi.

Museum staff who attended the dawn ceremony say it was extremely moving and had given them a great sense of time and history.


Traditional Maori instruments found a ready and enthusiastic audience when they were played as part of the Australian World Music Expo in Melbourne last week.

Musician Rewi Spraggon who performed with fellow expert in Maori musical instruments Riki Bennett says it was amazing to perform with a diverse group of musicians who could not speak either Maori or English.

“It went off really well. I think there were about 1300 people there on Sunday night. People were crying. There were a lot of Maori there that come to support it and a couple of songs were so touching you could see the people in the audience crying because it was so powerful and strong,” Mr Spraggon says.

The World Music Expo will be in New Zealand to open the Auckland Festival of Arts in March next year.


A hamstring injury may mean the English team is missing some Maori strike power ahead of Sunday's test match against the All Blacks at Twickenham.

Riki Flutey, from Ngati Porou, limped off half an hour into last weekend's game against the Springboks... and his right leg is still troubling him.

The former Wellington and Hurricanes player represented New Zealand at all age groups and was a member of the Under 19 team that won the U19 World Cup in 1999.

The utlility back first played for Martin Johnson's English team against the Pacific Islanders in early November... after meeting the three-year residental qualifications.

28-year-old Flutey will have the injury to his right hamstring assessed again tomorrow before the 22-man English squad is named.


Te Papa museum researchers have a task on their hands attempting to identify where skeletal remains returned from British museums originally came from.

The 22 skeletal remains including a fish hook made from bone and a Moriori skull were welcomed back in New Zealand this morning at a powhiri at Te Papa's marae following their repatriation from five British museums.

However they will not be put on display.

Rather museum researchers will attempt to identify where they originally came from in the mid-1800's so that they can be returned to iwi.

This morning the remains were taken immediately to the museum following their arrival on an overnight Air New Zealand flight and then after the powhiri a tapu lifting ceremeony was held.


With an estimated one billion dollar impact... Maori landowners with interests in forestry are keeping a close eye on the new government's approach to the Emissions Trading Scheme.

The National Government has agreed to delay implementation of the ETS, as part of its support agreement with ACT, until a full review is carried out.

Willie Te Aho of the Climate Change Iwi Leadership Group says that after spending two years working through the ramifications of the scheme designed by Labour they had a number of concerns.

He says Labour's deal would have seen landowners with forests planted before 1990 heavily penalised if they wanted to switch to farming or other types of land use.

“And what Maori said is you are capping the Maori economy because we are unable to use it for the highest and best use value as other landowners have done, so that was one of the major concerns,” Mr Te Aho says.

Ngai Tahu has 84,000 hectares still in forest land and if they wanted to get out of forestry when the Crown lease ran out they'd be looking at a $100 million bill.


New Zealanders will get a chance to see traditional Maori instruments played with other indigenous instruments from around the pacific when the World Music Expo performs as part of the Auckland Festival of Arts next year.

An expert in playing traditional Maori instruments Rewi Spraggon who performed in Melbourne last week with fellow musician Riki Bennett, as part of the Australasian World Music Expo, says the event was a huge success and he expects it will go down similarly in Auckland.

Rewi Spraggon says the pair are also planning to tour the United States next year with the World Music Expo performers.


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