Return of Toi Moko is Enhancing Cultural Ignorance…….

Te Papa, the National Museum of New Zealand is 4 years away from the end of a 10 year plan to seek out and repatriate toi moko or tatooed Maori heads.

It’s just a thought….but…     It seems to me that if all the shrunken heads are returned from museums all around the world, people in those foreign countries will be deprived of the chance to learn about Maori culture.    What a shame.

The story gets worse because if I heard correctly it is planned to extend the ten year programme so more toi moko can be repatriated.     If the search teams find and repatriate them all (I wonder how long that will take) the wider world will be deprived forever of the opportunity to learn about this practice and see these fascinating artefacts.


4 thoughts on “Return of Toi Moko is Enhancing Cultural Ignorance…….

    • I don’t think so Findalis. Heavens above – we’re civilised down here in the South Pacific and no longer cut off people’s heads…… c.f. President Assad’s soldiers……

      As for the old heads, I may be wrong but I think the national museum keeps them all in a crypt somewhere and because of the sensitivity and filial feelings of the head’s descendants they will never be displayed in public ever again.

  1. No museums in the world display toi moko, they site in sample draws for researchers and ethnographers to study upon request (as they can do in NZ). returning them to there home is the right thing the moral thing and the respectful thing to do.

    • I think Steve that the point of the original post was somewhat different. Regardless of people’s opinions as to the ethics of displaying toi moko, the fact is that limiting access to information leads to limited knowledge and understanding, both inimical to the development of civilised intellectual development.

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