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Annual History Awards Reveal Diverse New Zealand’s Stories

Recipients of the 2020 editions of NZ Oral History Awards and the NZ Research Trust Fund Awards have been announced.

The Ngā Kōrero Tuku Iho Oral History Awards 2020 have revealed some of the stories in our communities which deserve to be heard.

These important oral histories range from South Island train journeys to watch rugby games, to the korero of Māori women who have supported Treaty settlements and community development in the Waikato to the experience of death and dying during Covid-19.

Meanwhile, recipients of this year’s New Zealand History Research Trust Fund Awards include a history of Māori showbands in the 1960s, and the story of the Mobile Radio Units broadcasting in the Second World War - bringing the words and waiata of troops serving overseas into living rooms back home.

Projects as diverse as prison labour, abortion and adoption, mental health, textiles, anti-Semitism and women photographers will also be supported by these Awards.

Administered by Manatū Taonga Ministry for Culture and Heritage, these two annual Awards schemes support projects which will make a significant contribution to the study of New Zealand history and society.

Manatū Taonga Chief Historian Neill Atkinson said today, “We congratulate all the awardees this year and acknowledge those who were not successful this time around. This year, thirteen oral history projects have received a total of $105,690, and nine other history projects have received a total of $100,500. We were pleased to see we had a high number of kaupapa Māori applications – eight of the 22 successful projects have a significant Māori focus.

“In addition, we are pleased to see that 16 of the successful projects over the two Awards are led by women historians or researchers,” said Neill Atkinson.

“There is also a broad geographical spread, with projects focusing on a range of locations from Northland to Otago”.

For the awards panels this year the most difficult job was choosing between a broad array of fascinating and impactful projects. Manatū Taonga’s Audio Visual Historian Dr Emma Jean Kelly said she has loved watching these applications develop over the last six months or so.

“As people have contacted me to talk about applying, through to the final draft, it’s been a rich experience for me to hear about the kōrero tuku iho which captures our imaginations, our hearts and our minds, and support people to record those narratives for now and the future. I’ve learned so much”, says Dr Kelly.

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