The Dutch Ministry of Culture said Tuesday it will return a tattooed and mummified 19th century Maori head to New Zealand.

The artifact has been in the Netherlands for more than 150 years, where it belonged to the royal collection of Dutch King William I and later was displayed at the natural history museum in Leiden.

The head will be sent to the Te Papa Museum in Wellington, New Zealand, Dutch Junior Culture Minister Medy van der Laan said in a statement.

Nine other Maori heads were returned to New Zealand earlier this year from museums in Britain.

The repatriation is important for "the collective memory of the Maoris and the Netherlands," the statement said. "It gives them a chance to regain their identity and confirm the value of their culture."

It is the first time a Dutch museum has returned human remains to their country of origin.