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Oral History Awards recognise women and cultural diversity

Oral History Awards 2018 recognise women and cultural diversity

Voices reflecting Aotearoa’s diverse histories from iwi and hapu to the contribution of women and artists will be captured by the recipients of this year’s New Zealand Oral History Awards (NZOH) announced today.

“As this year we mark 125 years of Women’s Suffrage in New Zealand, it’s fitting that a number of projects showcasing the lives and experiences of women are among those supported,” says Neill Atkinson Chief Historian Manatū Taonga Ministry for Culture and Heritage.

“Interviews with former students and staff from Queen Victoria School, Te Kura O Kuini Wikitoria will reflect the experiences of young Māori women, and Te Aratika Whanau Trust will explore the whakapapa of northern iwi and hapu through the eyes of kuia Mereana Waikanae Hoani, aged 86, and Dawn Nina Epiha, who is 93.

“For her project SOS: Stories from the Sisters Overseas Service, Georgie Craw will interview women involved in or assisted by SOS, a pro-choice organisation set-up in the1970s. SOS helped women travel to Australia for legal abortions at a time when the law made it difficult to have safe legal abortions here.

“The awards support the oral history profession by giving recipients the opportunity to develop their skills and, for first-time recipients, receive guidance on how to undertake this specialised type of research.

“This year we are also supporting video interviews undertaken by members of the Shakti Community Council for their project – The human cost of war: Voices of displaced women. The filmed recordings will feature in a documentary account of survival in times of war and conflict.

“Arts and culture feature with projects focused on the Christchurch Operatic Society’s 80 years of show business, the life and work of artist Tony Fomison, and on the development of professional performing arts groups supporting people with disabilities.

“Another project focuses on Samoan elders and their close relationship with land, which encompasses a philosophy of sustaining and nurturing life.
“The 11 awards, totalling $56,186, granted this year will see a diverse range of stories brought to life and more of Aotearoa’s hidden history recorded for posterity.

“Setup in 1990 with a $1 million gift from the Australian government to commemorate New Zealand’s sesquicentennial of the signing of Te Tiriti o Waitangi, these awards aim to preserve the history of New Zealand and its close association with other South Pacific countries through oral history.

“In the 28 years since the awards were established more than $2.25 million has been given to some 440 community groups and individuals,” Neill Atkinson said.

Applications for NZOH awards are considered by a committee of New Zealand historians and a representative from the Alexander Turnbull Library’s Oral History Centre. The awards are administered by Manatū Taonga Ministry for Culture and Heritage.


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