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History awards reveal Maori life and heritage

Press Release – Ministry For Culture And Heritage
Three fascinating Māori history projects featuring in this year’s New Zealand History Research Trust Fund Awards will provide insight into Māori life and heritage, Manatū Taonga Ministry for Culture and Heritage Chief Historian Neill Atkinson said today.

“Eight awards totalling $96,000 have been distributed to historians researching subjects as diverse as New Zealand’s lakes, the far right, and the Reform Party, one of New Zealand’s main political parties in the first half of the 20th century,” Neill Atkinson said.

“Also included are two biographies, one on leading early feminist Lady Anna Stout, and another on surgeon Doug Jolly who served in the Spanish Civil War.

“One intriguing project is the history of Te Motunui Epa, made up of five finely carved panels, dating from between 1750 and 1820. The epa is one of New Zealand’s most significant cultural treasures and was returned to New Zealand in 2015 after a 40-year absence.

“Historian Rachel Buchanan (Taranaki, Te Ātiawa) describes her project as: a story of discovery and rediscovery, of kidnappers and smugglers, of lords and lawyers, of pride and betrayal, of private investigators and Bolivian tin magnates, of connoisseurs and carvers and the international trade in stolen goods. Along the way, these five panels changed international case law and practices surrounding stolen cultural treasures.

“Award recipient Pania Te Whaiti (Ngāti Hinewaka, Ngāti Kahungunu, Rangitāne o Wairarapa) delves into the diary of her great-grand father Iraia te Ama o te Rangi Te Whaiti. A Wairarapa kaumātua and farmer, he kept a diary in te reo almost every day for 30 years, until his death in the 1918 influenza pandemic.

“Pania Te Whaiti’s work with these diaries will give us a fascinating awareness into Māori life in South Wairarapa, highlighting the role of kaumātua in advocating for Māori, while still caring for their whānau, iwi and hāpu.

“The third Māori history project is the story of Matangireia, the richly-carved former Native Affairs Committee Room at Parliament. Ellen Andersen (Ngati Raukawa ki te Tonga, Ngati Kapumanawawhiti), a specialist in Maori architectural history, will explore this internationally unique architectural space – a place dedicated to an indigenous people within a parliamentary precinct.

“It’s pleasing to see five of the eight recipients this year are women historians,” Neill Atkinson said.

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

Find out more about the awards and how to apply on the Manatū Taonga website.

This year’s recipients are:

Ellen Andersen Wellington Matangireia – Centenary History of the First Māori Affairs Committee Room in Parliament $12,000
Rachel Buchanan Currently living in Australia
NB: Taranaki-based project
Te Motunui Epa: on the trail of a globetrotting taonga

$12,000
Matthew Cunningham Wellington Vanguard: A history of the far right in New Zealand $12,00
Mark Derby Wellington Battlefield Surgeon: NZ Medical Pioneer Doug Jolly $12,000
Pania Te Whaiti Living in Wellington
NB: Wairarapa-based project
Kaumātua Kōrero: The diaries of Iraia te Ama o te Rangi Te Whaiti 1890-1918 $12,000
Elizabeth Ward Palmerston North For Light and Liberty: A History of the Reform Party $12,000
Monica Webb Auckland No Half Measure: The Political World of Lady Anna Stout $12,000
Jonathan West Wellington Mirrors on the Land: Histories of New Zealand’s Lakes $12,000
N/A N/A N/A $96,000

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