There are strong views on the nature of the Oral History Awards. More discussion is needed to ensure the  terms and conditions of the awards meet the expectations of a variety of communities across Aotearoa New Zealand, while ensuring a partnership with iwi Māori lies at the foundation of that discussion.

As Dr Nēpia Mahuika says in his new book ‘…indigenous scholars have pointed out that these [research and oral history] “standards” are rarely our own, and are usually inadequate frameworks to apply to native worldviews and knowledge systems’ (Mahuika, N. ‘Rethinking Oral History and Tradition: An Indigenous Perspective’, Oxford University Press 2019, p.108).

This year Manatū Taonga has made relatively superficial changes to the terms and conditions of the award given the deadline is 30th April [delayed to 15 October 2020 because of Covid-19] and I only just started in the role – we have changed the name, opened out the potential repositories for the recordings, and emphasised the desire to ensure a variety of oral history projects come from various communities including in the language in which the interviewee chooses to communicate.

We look forward to the NOHANZ conference this year and other workshops, events and opportunities for robust discussion about the nature of oral histories and traditions, and whether or not Ngā Korero Tuku Iho Manatū Taonga Oral History Awards are framed appropriately or require further development in partnership with iwi Māori and other communities across the motu.

Dr Emma Jean Kelly | Audio Visual Historian
Manatū Taonga
 | Ministry for Culture & Heritage


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