Tag Archives: Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa

All Gone!

Yes it’s true.  The big red Santa boot has gone, removed, put into the trash can and now can be forgotten.

So what else is on my mind today?

Twenty tattooed Maori heads are about to be repatriated from France.  At a  ceremony on Monday at Quai Branly museum in Paris, presided over by the French Culture Minister Frederic Mitterrand and New Zealand’s ambassador,  the heads encased in a box, were handed over.

Maori Warriors

Photo copyright EPA

In the 18th and 19th centuries Maori heads with intricate facial tattoos or moko, were often kept as trophies from tribal warfare. But with the coming of the white man, it became fashionable for  to collect these heads  by private individuals and men were in danger of being killed simply for their tattoos.

These heads are revered as ancestral remains by Maori, who hold it an insult that they should be on display in overseas museums.   Those from the museum in France have not been on display.  We are told that over the years French museums, anthropological researchers and private collectors have preserved and simply stored the heads.

Since 2003 the NZ government has been attempting (and succeeding in some degree) repatriation of these body parts.  And while more than 180 heads and skeletal remains have been repatriated to New Zealand since that time,  about 400 are estimated to remain in the UK alone.

The heads will be brought to Te Papa our National Museum and then will be distributed to the tribes to whom they belong. Some are readily identifiable but others are not, and Maori tribes are unwilling to accept body parts of anyone other than their own.  Because of this, Te Papa have some 500 unidentified body parts in storage.

As a Pakeha (non Maori New Zealander) I applaud the government’s actions  in repatriating these artifacts.

Blowing away the cobwebs

After being inside for the past 5 days, apart from the short trips to the Open Home on Sunday and the Doctor’s office yesterday, I decided that both of us needed a walk today.

So Lotte and I got dressed to go out.  the sun was shining and where I live there was little wind.  After a quick lunch with a friend, during which Madam was confined to the car much to her annoyance, we went to the harbour.

Lambton Harbour

Lambton Harbour via Wikipedia

Here in Wellington one can walk for several kilometers around Lambton Harbour.  The old port of Wellington has been reclaimed and opened to the public.  An old building has been converted to apartments, a large arena has been built and several of the sheds have been converted to other uses.  Te Papa (Our Place in Maori) is  our National Museum and it sits on reclaimed land in the harbour.

Shoreline plaque

via Wikipedia

So as you can imagine it is a very pleasant place to walk on a sunny afternoon in Spring.  But by the time we arrived there the wind had got up – well this is Windy Wellington after all – and poor little Lotte had to contend with the wind blowing her ears back from her head, almost inside out.  I do wish I would remember to take the camera with me when I go out as she was quite a sight to see.

But we both welcomed the opportunity to get out on such a lovely day.


I think dogs are the most amazing creatures; they give unconditional love.  For me they are the role model for being alive.
Gilda Radner
, 1946 – 1989
American comedian and actress,