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12 March, 2016 00:00 00 AM
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Captain Cook’s Hawaiian gifts returned after 237yrs

AFP
Captain Cook’s Hawaiian gifts returned after 237yrs
This handout photo taken and received from New Zealand’s national museum Te Papa shows delegates from Hawaii and New Zealand arriving with Indigenous Hawaiian garments gifted to Captain James Cook shortly before he was killed in the Pacific islands 237 years ago, which were handed back to their traditional owners at a ceremony in Wellington yesterday. AFP Photo

Traditional Hawaiian garments gifted to Captain James Cook before he was killed in the islands more than two centuries ago were handed back to indigenous people of the US Pacific state Friday at a ceremony in Wellington, reports AFP from Wellington. Described as “priceless” by New Zealand’s national museum Te Papa, the mahiole (feathered helmet) and ‘ahu ‘ula (feathered cloak) were given to Cook in 1779 during the famous British explorer’s last voyage. Such items were normally reserved for royalty—with the feathers of 20,000 birds needed for the cloak alone—a mark of Hawaiian chief Kalani’opu’u’s esteem for Cook. Te Papa said they came to New Zealand via a circuitous route, passing through the hands of various British collectors before they were bequeathed to Wellington’s Dominion Museum in 1912. Talks about returning them to Hawaii began in 2013, culminating in an agreement to give them to Honolulu’s Bishop Museum, technically on a long-term loan of at least 10 years.
New Zealand has actively pursued the permanent return of its own indigenous artefacts—such as mummified Maori heads—from museums around the world. The handover took place at a ceremony at Te Papa featuring Hawaiian and New Zealand Maori indigenous rituals. “I’m grateful to witness the return of these cultural heirlooms... it is a cause for celebration and it will be a source of inspiration, reflection and discussion,” Kamana’opono Crabbe from the Office of Hawaiian Affairs said. Cook was on a voyage seeking the fabled Northwest Passage and decided to spend the winter in Hawaii, according to an account in the State Library of New South Wales. When his expedition first arrived in Kealakekua Bay it was greeted warmly and Kalani’opu’u gave Cook the royal garments.

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Editor : M. Shamsur Rahman
Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

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