On Friday 23 March 2007, while she was visiting Chicago after meeting with President George Bush in Washington, D.C., The Right Honorable Helen Clark, Prime Minister of New Zealand, came to the marae of Ruatepupuke II at The Field Museum.
That Monday prior to her arrival in Chicago—and following several years of quiet negotiation by Te Papa Tongarewa in Wellington—the Museum's Board of Trustees had approved the repatriation of the remans of fourteen Maori individuals to New Zealand.
Field museum had acquired these koiwi (bones) from a New York scientific supply company in the late 19th century; it was not known how they come to be in the United States, or where and how they had been obtained in New Zealand.
The first public announcement of the Board's decision was made formally to the Prime Minister on the marae of Ruatepupuke II by Dr. John Edward Terrell, Regenstein Curator of Pacific Anthropology, and Mr. Joseph Brennan, the Museum's Legal Counsel. They were supported on the marae by Christopher J. Philipp, Regenstein Pacific Collections Manager, and Désirée Wisse, at that time the Regenstein Pacific Conservator.