France’s Rouen Museum Returns Mummified Maori Head to New Zealand After 136 Years

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ROUEN, FRANCE (AP).- A French museum has returned the mummified and tattooed head of a Maori to New Zealand officials after spending 136 years in a Normandy museum, a belated gesture to restore dignity to the first of 16 such human heads once displayed as exotic curiosities. Representatives of New Zealand’s native Maori people sang traditional songs during an elaborate ceremony at Rouen City Hall to hand over the head to New Zealand diplomats, the first to be returned from of a total of 16 in France. “It’s truly a solemn and symbolic day,” New Zealand ambassador Rosmary Banks said. “We are very happy at the return” of the tattooed head after so many years in Rouen, Banks said. For years, New Zealand has sought the return of Maori heads kept in collections abroad,