Māori And Pasifika stories in the Spotlight with new Funding

By Te Ao - Māori News

The Ministry for Culture and Heritage, Manatū Taonga has announced more than $230,000 to fund 24 unrecorded community-based history projects, the highest number of which are kaupapa Māori and Pasifika stories.

The 2021 pūtea will support projects that contribute to the study of Aotearoa history and be administered through the Ministry’s two funds, Ngā Kōrero Tuku Iho Oral History Grants and Whiria Te Mahara NZ History Grants.

"A particular focus is promoting ngā korero tuku iho, oral histories from diverse communities, so we were thrilled to see a huge increase in people wanting to explore Māori and Pacific stories this year," said Neill Atkinson, Acting Deputy Chief Executive Delivery at Manatū Taonga.

Ngā Kōrero Tuku Iho supports anyone leading an oral history project, the grants will provide $130,558 to fund 15 previously unrecorded histories some of which include:

  • Reuben Woods and Bobby Hung shedding light on contemporary graffiti artists and the subversive and youth-centric subculture around their mahi.
  • Seila (Natu) Vaeluaga’s family story, about their experience moving to Aotearoa to escape sea level rise. The project will share traditional Tuvaluan and Tokelauan mātauranga with younger generations and be told in their own language.
  • Jade Jackson will give a voice to Falema’l Lesa, a Samoan national resident who famously appealed her visa overstay conviction in 1982. For the first time, Lesa eill tell her story, from her own perspective and in her native language of Samoan.

Historians, researchers and writers working on non-fiction history projects will benefit from Whiria Te Mahara with $103,400 going to nine projects in 2021.

"Traditionally, these grants have gone toward book projects, so we are especially excited about two projects that will bring history to the community in new and accessible ways," Atkinson said.

  • Mere Whaanga will produce a digital cultural map of Pāparatu Station, an isolated sheep station with a storied past including several pā, one of which was the site of the first battle between Te Kooti Arikirangi Te Tūruki and the Crown in 1868.
  • The Ōtorohanga Historical Society will create historical panels for their local museum based on different topics relating to their region’s history.

Additional projects include an illustrated cultural history of Flying Nun Records and biographies of three significant New Zealanders - architects Rewi Thompson and Gerard Melling, and poet Ruth Dallas.

"Tēnā koutou to all of this year’s applicants, and whakamihi to our funding recipients. The fascinating stories coming out of these projects will help shape and deepen our shared understanding of what it means to be a New Zealander," said Atkinson.

Upon completion the projects will be stored in public archives chosen by the recipients.