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Kiwis’ flight across the Tasman wins awards

Kiwi migration to Australia is the stand out theme from this year’s New Zealand Oral History Awards. Three projects out of eight granted funding will receive a total of more than $40,000 to record the stories of New Zealanders who have moved across the Tasman.

Other successful projects in this year’s awards will explore the work of funeral directors on both sides of the Tasman, conservation covenants, and the Australian influence on lesbian and gay communities in New Zealand. Nearly $100,000 will be distributed through the awards to support and encourage oral history in New Zealand.

This year the awards have undergone a name change. Previously known as the Australian Sesquicentennial Gift Trust for Awards in Oral History, they are now simply the New Zealand Oral History Awards.

The awards began 21 years ago following a gift from the Australian government to commemorate the 150th anniversary of the Treaty of Waitangi. To celebrate this anniversary, applicants were encouraged to explore the relationship between the two countries.

Joining the committee of four historians who selected this year’s successful applicants was leading international oral historian, Professor Alistair Thomson from Monash University in Melbourne, who was impressed by the quality of applications.

"Over the past 20 years New Zealanders have made wonderful use of the Australian government's gift of one million dollars for community oral history. This year the projects had to explore cross-Tasman experiences and issues – a subject of serious neglect in both academic and community research in both countries. The successful projects will set this right by illuminating complex, changing and significant interactions between Australia and New Zealand."

The awards are administered by the Ministry for Culture and Heritage, and Senior Oral Historian, Alison Parr, is particularly excited about the migration projects which include studies of Maori and Greek communities. "It will be fascinating to discover more about the Australian migration experience of such a diverse range of New Zealanders. Their previously untold stories will add a rich vein to our national history."

All the recordings will go into the Oral History Archive at the Alexander Turnbull Library, where they will be available to researchers.

Successful applicants for the 2010 Awards are:

  • Shona McCahon, $15,000
    Australian conservation covenants
  • Athina Tsoulis, Evangelia Papoutsaki, $30,000
    Greek female immigrants to NZ – 1960s
  • Bronwyn Hanna, $5,000
    Australia ICOMOS Burra Charter
  • Alison Laurie, $11,300
    Australian influences on lesbian and gay communities in NZ
  • Honiana Love, $12,500
    Taranaki iwi in Australia
  • Penny Brander, $ 5,000
    Funeral directors in Australia and NZ
  • Linda Hepburn, Ruth Low, $5,953
    Cross Tasman migration from a small community – 1950s
  • Gareth Watkins, $ 9,985
    AIDS Memorial Quilt – NZ/Aus

Updated on 23rd July 2015