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Local history projects receive national funding

Media release: 16 June 2016

Diverse stories of New Zealand history, including sheep shearing, an internationally successful business and Cook Island music-making will be brought to life through this year’s New Zealand Oral History Awards recipients announced by Manatū Taonga, Ministry for Culture and Heritage.

“These awards make a significant contribution to collecting our local histories,” says Manatū Taonga Chief Historian Neill Atkinson.

“More than $100,000 has been awarded to 13 projects, which will support the recording of interviews for oral history projects on a range of subjects relating to New Zealand’s history and its close connections with the Pacific,” he says.

Since 1990, the awards have distributed more than $2 million to over 400 community groups and individuals for recording oral histories. Funding for the awards was established through a gift from the Australian government in 1990. Since then, more than 400 oral history projects have been completed and deposited in the Alexander Turnbull Library’s Oral History Centre in Wellington, where they are available to researchers and the general public.

Projects to receive funding this year include:

Stories from the Woolshed

Author Ruth Low will gather material for a new book on rural New Zealand. She will collect oral histories from both shearers and owners/managers of stations and farms, looking at the different perspectives on sheep farming in New Zealand. 

St Joseph’s Māori Girls’ College 150th anniversary

This project will see a bilingual oral history of St Joseph’s Maori Girls’ College completed in time for its 150th Anniversary in 2017. St Joseph’s, based in Napier, is one of only two remaining Māori girls’ boarding schools. The college has a history of academic excellence, with past pupils including Dame Whina Cooper, Māori language champion Katerina Te Heikōkō Mataira and singer Moana Maniapoto.

ADIS International Ltd

ADIS International Ltd is an Auckland-based medical publishing company founded by Sir Graeme Avery. It developed from a small Australasian operation in the 1960s to a New Zealand-led international organisation with over 400 staff and an annual turnover of NZ$100 million. This project will capture the development and culture of a New Zealand company that became a global leader in its field.

Vaimutu Records 1985-2006: Exploring the life histories and stories of influential Cook Islanders and their journey in New Zealand through the music industry

This project will record the oral histories and personal narratives of key influential Cook Islanders in New Zealand and give an insight into their experiences as migrants, their first impressions of New Zealand and how they adapted to a new culture. The focus is on their journey through the Cook Islands and New Zealand music industries and their contribution through the recording label Vaimutu Records.

Further information about the awards and a full list of this year’s recipients can be found at:

Image: Stories from the woolshed: the 1868 Terrace Station woolshed at Hororata. Now a monument to the history of the Canterbury pastoral industry. Photographer: Mark Low.

Media contact

Elizabeth Bush-King

Senior Communications Advisor

Ministry for Culture and Heritage

Phone 64 4 499 4229 ext 541, mobile 0221 601 547


Updated on 4th July 2016