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Oral History Awards reflect extraordinary diversity

July 2, 2012

New Zealand Oral History Awards reflect extraordinary diversity

Almost $110,000 has this year been awarded to 14 oral history projects that will span a huge range of subjects including workers on the Manapouri Hydro Dam, women living in the Chatham Islands and Auckland’s West Coasters Club – a group of Auckland residents with connections to the South Island’s West Coast.

“The projects in this year’s New Zealand Oral History Awards mark one of the most diverse years ever with the successful applicants capturing the memories of people in a way that other forms of history cannot,” said Alison Parr, senior oral historian at the Ministry for Culture and Heritage which administers the awards. “The beauty of oral history is in the detail it preserves of individual lives.”

Among the applications to gain support this year are projects on the workers at the Kaeo Post Office which celebrates its centenary this year, Wellington’s Lebanese community and the first oral history award for a project involving children.

Award-winning radio producer Prue Langbein’s project is called Seven by Seven. She will interview seven-year-olds about every facet of their life, including family, home and school.

“This will be a very useful source for the future,” Alison Parr said. “It’s not often that children’s voices are heard in history.”

This year’s successful applicants were selected by a committee of five historians.

All the recordings will go into the Oral History Archive at the Alexander Turnbull Library, where they will be available to researchers. The awards began in 1990 following a gift from the Australian government to commemorate the 150th anniversary of the Treaty of Waitangi.
For more information contact: Senior Oral Historian, Alison Parr on 04 496-6331

New Zealand Oral History Awards 2012

• Rosemary Baird Manapouri Hydro 1966-73 $10,885

• Mary-Ellen O’Conner Margaret Bazley $ 3,500

• Barbara Inch Christchurch Nurses 1971-74 $ 2,000

• Ruth Greenaway Monte Cecilia Housing Trust $ 5060

• Jiff Stewart VSA spouses of volunteers $ 6050

• Fiona Craig Kaeo Post Office 1912-2012 $ 9,112

• Gareth Watkins AIDS Support Network $ 7,000

• Te Runanganui o Ngati Porou Te Runanganui o Ngati Porou $13,750

• Linda Hepburn and Ruth Low South Canterbury stories $11,046

• Marina Fontein Lebanese community in Wellington $ 1,000

• Pip Desmond Exploring the roots of homelessness $ 9434

• Prue Langbein Seven by Seven, Children’s voices $ 7045

• Julie Benjamin West Coasters Club, Auckland $ 9,400

• Anna Cottrell Women of the Chathams $13,937


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