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History Funding To Put Māori And Pacific Stories In The Spotlight

Manatū Taonga Ministry for Culture and Heritage today announced funding grants for 24 community-based history projects, with the highest ever number of kaupapa Māori and Pacific stories funded.

Funding will be administered through the Ministry’s two history grants, Ngā Kōrero Tuku Iho Oral History Grants and Whiria Te Mahara NZ History Grants. Both grants support projects that contribute to the study of Aotearoa New Zealand history.

"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. This year, the grants will provide $130,558 to fund 15 previously unrecorded histories, including:

- Seila (Natu) Vaeluaga’s family story, told in their own language, about their experience moving to Aotearoa to escape sea level rise. The project will share traditional Tuvaluan and Tokelauan mātauranga with younger generations.

- Reuben Woods and Bobby Hung will capture the stories of contemporary graffiti artists, shedding light on a subversive and youth-centric subculture.

- Jade Jackson will give voice to Falema’l Lesa, a Samoan national resident who famously appealed her visa overstay conviction in 1982. For the first time, we will hear Lesa’s story from her own perspective and in her native language of Samoan.

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Meanwhile, Whiria Te Mahara supports historians, researchers and writers working on non-fiction history projects. The 2021 grants will award a total of $103,400 for nine projects.

"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," Neill 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.

Other projects funded include a major new 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 Neill Atkinson.

Once completed, most projects will be stored in a public archive chosen by the recipient.

Full list of funding recipients available through the Ministry's website.

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