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Last Updated: Monday, 14 November 2005, 08:58 GMT
Maori heads to be returned to NZ
Kelvingrove Museum
Kelvingrove Museum has stored, but not displayed, the remains
Three preserved Maori heads will be returned to New Zealand after decades in a Glasgow museum.

The tattooed heads, and a thigh bone, are believed to belong to Maori chiefs killed in battle in the 19th century.

They were donated to the Kelvingrove Museum, although they have never been shown in public.

A delegation from New Zealand's national museum Te Papa arrives in Glasgow on Monday to return the heads and offer them for tribal burial.

In Maori culture the heads are known as toi moko. One was purchased by Glasgow Museums from a Liverpool menagerie in 1906.

The other two were donated to the city by a collector in 1951.

Archibald Shanks donated the heads 50 years after purchasing them from the Blair Museum in Dalry in 1901.

'Right thing'

An undated extract from the diary of Mr Shanks said that one of the heads was of a New Zealand chief who had 40 wives.

They were never put on public display because as human remains, they cannot be legally owned by the council, only entrusted to them.

Glasgow City Council's repatriation of artefacts working group decided last year to return the remains. The group said it was "the right thing to do".

The Te Papa Museum will try to identify which tribe the remains come from and then return them for disposal.

One of the heads was severed in battle and steamed

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