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2004-6 Maori History Fellow begins major projects

Media Release for immediate release Tuesday 17 February, 2004

2004-2006 Maori History Fellow begins major publishing projects

Dr Monty Soutar, the 2004-2006 Fellow in Maori History, has begun his Fellowship with the Ministry for Culture and Heritage.

The Fellowship will allow Dr Soutar to concentrate solely on writing and research for the next two years. He will work as part of the Ministry’s History Group on two major new publications.

On behalf of the Nga Taonga a Nga Tama Toa Trust, an entity made up of Maori Battalion veterans and widows, Dr Soutar will first complete a history of the Maori war effort in World War Two, based on the records of the tribes of Tairawhiti.

“This history is inspired by a perceived need among older generations, which lived through the war, to better inform their descendants about Maori objectives in World War Two. It will also inform a wider New Zealand audience about the continuing impact that World War Two has on Maori society,” said Dr Soutar

The book follows on from Dr Soutar’s oral history project of the C Company, 28 Maori Battalion. For almost a decade he has headed a research team that has collected more than 400 hours of video footage, 4000 photographs and a large amount of related memorabilia.

His second work will be a history of the relationship between Ngati Porou, the Crown and the Church in the Nineteenth Century. “It will be a timely publication as iwi begin to review their recent history in the context of Treaty relations, and as schools and libraries seek more historical reading resources in the area of Maori history. To date, little in terms of iwi history has been published about Ngati Porou,” he said.

Dr Soutar hopes to complete both manuscripts during the Fellowship.

Prior to his Fellowship, Dr Soutar was senior lecturer at the School of Maori Studies, Massey University, Palmerston North. He is also a member of the Maori Advisory Committee of Te Ara, the Online Encyclopedia of New Zealand, which begins digital publication from July 2004. Dr Soutar is of Ngati Awa, Ngati Porou, Ngai Tai (Waikato), Ngati Kahungunu descent.

Massey graduate Mere Whaanga wrote a history of Ngai Tahu Matawhaiti when she held the Fellowship from 2001 to 2003.

The History Group, Ministry for Culture and Heritage, seeks to enhance New Zealanders' access to and understanding of their history and cultural heritage by providing enlightening insights into the past. The Group specialises in researching and writing histories of state activity, war history, and other histories of national significance. The Ministry awards the Fellowship in Maori History every few years.

Further information is available online:

A feature from Dr Soutar’s World War Two project will appear later this year on

- ENDS -

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