National | Hui

'Get these items home to the people of Ngāti Hine'

In the 1800s, Andreas Reischek, an Austrian scientist, robbed Māori graves and plundered Māori artefacts for his private collection.

More than 140 years later, officials of the Austrian government have been repatriating what Reischek looted.

A hui took place at The Waitangi Treaty grounds last week between Ngāti Hine and Austrian officials to discuss the wrongdoings of Andreas Reischek against the Ngāti Hine people.

Some items have already been returned to Te Papa Tongarewa.

Over sixty kōiwi stolen by Reischek in the late 1800s were returned to Te Papa earlier this month.

Austria's labour, family, and youth minister Martin Kocher, who attended the hui, says it was "very sad to hear about the wrongdoings in the past.

“There have been repatriations taking place. There is a very intense relationship between the museums in Vienna and the Te Papa museum, and I hope this will lead to the full repatriation of what has been robbed from here."

Ngāti Hine spokesperson Pita Tipene says the main goal is to get these items home to the people of Ngāti Hine.

“Some of those items are said to be treasure boxes, boxes containing ancestors' bones, and some are pounamu and other items. We don't know which ones but look, tell, unravel, and there will be an agreement to bring those items back home.”

Negotiations are still taking place on when the tāonga will return, and a set date has yet to be confirmed.