(Radio NZ) Te Papa museum’s co-leader says further talks are needed about how Toi Moko (Maori preserved heads) should be officially welcomed home from overseas.

The subject has arisen due to a request by Tainui iwi during a powhiri at Te Papa on Friday for 20 toi moko repatriated from France.

An elder of Tainui, which is the museum’s iwi in residence, asked that the lids of the boxes be opened.

Because of concerns by Te Papa staff and members of the Karanga Aotearoa Repatriation team, it didn’t happen

Te Papa’s kaihautu Michelle Hippolite says they will look at whether toi moko coming home in the future may be displayed.

Museum board chairman Sir Wira Gardiner says the repatriation could breakdown barriers for people such as indigenous Australians and Egyptians, who want their artefacts returned.

The return of the toi moko or Maori preserved heads from France was made possible in 2010 when the French Parliament approved a new law which allowed the removal of the heads from permanent collections in museums all over France.

France’s Ambassador in New Zealand, Francis Etienne says he’s moved, proud and happy to see the toi moko returned to New Zealand.

He says the repatriation sets an example for other countries.

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