FRANCE BLOCKS RETURN OF MAORI HEAD TO AOTEAROA

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MELBOURNE, Australia (Radio Australia, Jan. 3) – A French court has blocked plans to return the preserved head of a Maori from western France to New Zealand.

Newstalk NZ reports... that the head, donated by a collector in 1875, had been held in a museum which decided last year to return it as an "ethical gesture of respect" for the Maori people.

But the French culture ministry stepped in to block the transfer, arguing the head was now part of France's cultural heritage.

An administrative court has ruled that authorities failed to consult a scientific committee before withdrawing the head from a national museum collection, blocking the transfer.

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