eCite Digital Repository

‘Inhuman and very mischievous traffic’: early measures to cease the export of ancestral remains from Aotearoa New Zealand and Australia


Fforde, C and Aranui, A and Knapman, G and Turnbull, P, Inhuman and very mischievous traffic': early measures to cease the export of ancestral remains from Aotearoa New Zealand and Australia, The Routledge Companion to Indigenous Repatriation: return, reconcile, renew, Routledge, C Fforde, CT McKeown and H Keeler (ed), United Kingdom, pp. 318-399. ISBN 9780203730966 (2020) [Research Book Chapter]

Copyright Statement

Copyright 2020 The Authors

DOI: doi:10.4324/9780203730966


This chapter considers 19th- and early 20th-century official measures, including legislation, to prevent the trade in, and regulate the export of, Indigenous human remains from New Zealand and Australia. It details the immediate historical context of the development of this legislation and its past and current implications for the supply and repatriation of Indigenous human remains. Museum archives reveal successful (and unsuccessful) attempts by collectors to break the law, suggesting there may be many Indigenous human remains in overseas institutions that were illegally exported from their country of origin. If so, such illegality provides holding institutions with few options than to repatriate. It is important to note that this chapter considers the ‘rule of law’ from the perspective of the settler state. Indigenous peoples have their own laws governing appropriate treatment of the deceased.

Item Details

Item Type:Research Book Chapter
Keywords:indigenous history, human remains, repatriation
Research Division:Indigenous Studies
Research Group:Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander culture, language and history
Research Field:Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander history
Objective Division:Indigenous
Objective Group:Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander heritage and culture
Objective Field:Conserving Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander heritage and culture
UTAS Author:Turnbull, P (Professor Paul Turnbull)
ID Code:138128
Year Published:2020
Funding Support:Australian Research Council (LP130100131)
Deposited By:Office of the School of Humanities
Deposited On:2020-03-26
Last Modified:2021-04-28

Repository Staff Only: item control page