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New Zealand’s involvement in the return of ancestral remains and taonga has spanned well 80 years with requests for return going back to the 1940s. Granted during this time we have been most active internationally even up until the present day, we are as a nation increasingly focusing on returning taonga and ancestors taken unethically and illegally from within our own museums and universities. A discussion of some of the research that Amber has undertaken over the years in order to contextualize our history of collecting, grave robbing and theft will provide an understanding of the growing desire to repatriate both from the descent community perspective as well as from our museums perspective.
Dr Amber Aranui will take a deep dive into our past to explore our repatriation history here and further afield, as well as the developments presently taking place with our own backyard. This talk will also examine the importance of repatriation for descendant communities and the work being undertaken by iwi and hapū to have their taonga and ancestors home.
Dr Amber Aranui has worked at Te Papa since 2008, spending 11 years as a researcher for the Karanga Aotearoa Repatriation Programme before a two-year secondment to National Services Te Paerangi to develop Ngākahu National Repatriation Project. Amber has a strong passion for repatriation and is a proven provenance researcher.
With a background in archaeology, her interests lie in early forms of taonga Māori and advocates for the reconciliation of taonga with their people. Amber is currently a Board Member for Museums Aotearoa and the National Army Museum, as well as chair of the Indigenous Council for the World Archaeological Congress.
Feature image: Detail from: Pōwhiri for the repatriation of kōiwi tangata, 2013. Photograph by Norm Heke. Te Papa (97166)