The current debate on cultural property from colonial contexts also affects museums and academic collections of human remains. The “Sensitive Provenances Project” at the University of Göttingen aims to open up new avenues for the repatriation of human remains to former European colonies. More specifically, it addresses the human remains of 100 individuals from New Zealand, Palau, Tanzania and Cameroon that are currently housed in the Blumenbach Skull Collection and the Anthropological Collection of the University of Göttingen.
Te Herekiekie Herewini is the Head of Repatriation at the Museum for New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa. He is one of the fellows involved in the project. In the following interview, he talks about the research he is doing in Göttingen, his connection with the human remains from Maori und Moriori communities in New Zealand and his country’s history of repatriation.
The audio includes a chant performed by Te Herekiekie Herewini to honour his ancestors whose human remains are currently still part of the Blumenbach collection in Göttingen.