Bringing up the Bodies: Governor Grey’s Bone Collecting

  • John O'Leary


The contributions of Sir George Grey to disciplines as varied as botany, biology, ethnography and linguistics have contributed to his reputation as a humane, liberal-minded imperial functionary. In this context, it is relevant to bring up the contributions which Grey made to anthropology in the shape of the skulls, skeletons and mummified bodies of indigenous peoples that he sent back to scientists in Britain for analysis and display. This article considers what Grey did and why—as far as it is possible to ascertain—he did it. It also suggests that class as well as racial considerations informed Grey’s actions. Finally, the article assesses the significance of Grey’s bone collecting to the emerging science of anthropology.


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How to Cite
O'LEARY, John. Bringing up the Bodies: Governor Grey’s Bone Collecting. The Journal of New Zealand Studies, [S.l.], n. NS30, june 2020. ISSN 2324-3740. Available at: <>. Date accessed: 29 nov. 2020. doi: