Māori and Moriori skeletal remains that were previously stored at American and German museums have been welcomed home at an emotional ceremony at Te Papa.

So far, more than 4000 Māori ancestral remains have been repatriated, and there are 600 more still waiting to be returned.

Toi Māori Tamahou Temara says it took a lot of negotiating to get the remains released.

"I tō ai te whakaaro ki roto i a rātou i pupū ake ngā manawa i roto i a rātou mō ā mātou nei kōrero whakawhitiwhiti ki te whakahoki mai i ngā tīpuna."

600 ancestral remain waiting to come home and Te Papa says it'll take another 10 years to get them back.