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Matariki Williams appointed as Pou Hītori Māori Matua Senior Māori Historian

Media release: 29 June 2021

Matariki Williams (Ngāi Tūhoe, Ngāti Whakaue, Ngāti Hauiti, Taranaki) has been appointed as Pou Hītori Māori Matua Senior Māori Historian in Te Pae Wānanga (the Research and Publishing team) at Manatū Taonga Ministry for Culture and Heritage.

"Nau mai, haere mai ki te whare o te Manatū Taonga - we welcome Matariki today," says Pou Arataki o Te Pae Wānanga/ Chief Historian Neill Atkinson.

Image of Senior Māori Historian Matariki Williams.

"The role of Senior Māori Historian helps to ensure the diverse histories of Aotearoa New Zealand are preserved and shared for future generations. The role is also focused on supporting iwi, hapū and Māori to advance their aspirations, and help all New Zealanders to appreciate, understand and engage with Māori history.

"We are delighted that such an accomplished researcher, curator and communicator of Māori history is joining us, to support our Te Tai Treaty Settlements Stories programme as well as Te Ara - The Encyclopaedia of New Zealand and our work across a range of other projects.

"Matariki joins us from Te Papa where she has been Curator Mātauranga Māori. Her experience in the sector will be a valued and beneficial addition to our history team."

She also co-wrote the award-winning book Protest Tautohetohe: Objects of Resistance, Persistence and Defiance, is a co-founder and co-editor of ATE Journal of Māori Art, and has appeared in the recent television series National Treasures.

Williams says: "The telling of history is often associated with authority and power, and assumed to be something that has happened. I’m excited to join Manatū Taonga and work on projects where these assumptions will be challenged because history is made around us every day. With Te Tai Treaty Settlement Stories, there exists a benchmark for histories to be told from Iwi, hapū and whānau perspectives. It is critical that we understand that Māori history is this history of Aotearoa New Zealand and I pay specific respect to Dr Monty Soutar and Leanne Tamaki for holding this space before me. Nei rā te mihi whakahirahira ki a rāua."

Williams fills the role previously held by historian Dr Monty Soutar who was with the Ministry for 10 years and departed Manatū Taonga in March this year.

Updated on 6th July 2021