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LIVE: World Cup countdown - Maori head ceremony
Updated 2:23pm Friday 25th October 2013 in News
This live event has finished
- Special ceremony to send mummified head back to New Zealand
- One of a number of events taking place in the town ahead of the Rugby League World Cup kicking off tomorrow
- The Halliwell Jones Stadium will be hosting New Zealand v Samoa on Sunday
- Get involved on Twitter using the hash tag #WGWorldCup
That's the end of our coverage from today's repatriation ceremony.
For full coverage of New Zealand v Samoa at the Halliwell Jones Stadium on Sunday check our website and next week's paper.
The Maori head leaves the town hall and is now heading back to New Zealand.
Among those in attendance at today's ceremony was Kevin Tamati, the former Warrington Wolves forward.
Here he is in playing days for New Zealand.
Away from action inside the stadium on Sunday, there will be plenty for non rugby fans to enjoy.
A team of dancers have been preparing for the Window on Warrington event.
Starting at the Skittles on Bridge Street at 4pm, it makes it way to The Halliwell Jones in time for kick off as part of a 40 minute journey.
The performance promises a reflection on the shared cultures of Warrington and Samoa.
And if you miss it this weekend, there will be a repeat performance at 1pm before the quarter final on November 17.
Here are the dancers in rehearsal
The ceremony is now over and the Toi Moko has left the building.
Representatives said the head had been looked after beautifully and are now pressing noses with everyone who has spoken during the ceremony.
Gifts are being handed over to the Mayor to thank the town for looking after the Toi Moko.
The group have collected 13 ancestors during their visit to England including five heads and eight skeletal remains.
Next representatives from the museum and leader of the council Terry O'Neill will sign the repatriation document before the head is removed from the town hall to make the long journey home.
Plenty of press here for today's event including reporters from Maori News
He adds even though the head is going back to New Zealand, it won't be the end of the country's relationship with Warrington.
Rob Taylor, deputy high commissioner, said he is delighted to visit Warrington as he used to go to Warrington beach in New Zealand as a young boy.
Clr Terry O'Neill says he has been moved by how much the ceremony means to guests from the museum in New Zealand where the head is being taken to.
The repatriation ceremony is now under way with players from the Samoa and New Zealand team in attendance.
Away from the main match, Sunday will give a chance for youngsters from two Warrington schools to star on the pitch at The Halliwell Jones Stadium.
They will compete in the Warrington Schools’ final at 4.30pm ahead of the 6pm kick-off.
We have a dedicated section on our website, full of breaking World Cup news.
Check it out here
@loverugbyleague @wolvesrl bridges pub in warrington shall be showing every world cup game live. so come and join us for all the fun. RT— @wires2wolves 24 October 2013
And if you want to be there on Sunday, you need to get tickets quickly.
Only standing room in the South Stand is left for the game which is heading towards being the second sell-out of the tournament.
Click here for the full story
The demonstration included telling stories through song.
Away from head repatriations we are looking ahead to the World Cup here in Warrington more generally.
New Zealand take on Samoa at The Halliwell Jones Stadium on Sunday.
Who do you think will win? Vote in our poll
Visitors at Warrington Museum were treated to a demonstration of Maori culture yesterday ahead of today's ceremony.
Te Herekiekie Herewini, repatriation manager at Te Papa Tongarewa Museum in New Zealand, said taking the head home is very important to Maori culture.
He added: “What we’re hoping to achieve is the repatriation of our ancestors who have been over here for more than 100 years and some as long as 200 years.
"We want to reunite the spirit and life force back to its home land.
"It’s important for them to be returned as our traditional way of thinking is they’re currently in a state of limbo."
The mummified head, known as a Toi Moko, will be making its way from Warrington Museum to the town hall shortly ahead of a special ceremony.
The head has been kept in the museum since 1843 but is now set to be 'reunited with its homeland' in New Zealand.
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