PROGRESS MADE TO REPATRIATE MAORI SKULLS

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (March 13, 1998 - Radio Australia)---A New Zealand Maori trying to reclaim preserved Maori heads from New York's Museum of Natural History says discussions with museum officials have been positive.

Maori entertainer Dalvanius Prime says he thinks his negotiations to reclaim the skulls will be long, but cordial and he eventually hopes to return the heads to New Zealand and their owners' descendants.

Hundreds of tattooed heads of Maori, the Polynesian indigenous people of New Zealand, are held in collections around the world after a lucrative trade developed during the last century.

Some museums still display the heads, but many are too gruesome to show and the 37 heads held in the New York Museum were withdrawn from public display 20 years ago.

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