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Monday 12 October 2009

Kei hea te taunga mai o aku kupu?

(Where will my words rest?)
Terehia Biddle
abstract (pdf)

Archives NZ is official repository for Treaty of Waitangi and other historical documents.

Relationship objectives with Māori
  • Can act with respect but question is whether Māori feel respected.
  • Trust and have confidence
  • [missed two]

  • Treaty obligations
  • legislative requirement under Public Records Act 2005
  • Waitangi 262 claim (flora and fauna) with respect to cultural and intellectual property issues - brought against Crown by 6 iwi asserting Crown breach of Treaty by agreeing to international agreements that affect indigenous flora and fauna and intellectual property rights, eg commercialising sacred knowledge

Building blocks
  • Statement of intent - responsiveness to Māori as a strategic priority
  • business planning documents and performance measures have sections covering responsiveness to Māori
  • Individual performance-based reviews from the general manager down

It's hard to build a relationship with Māori if internal infrastructure isn't set up to support it.

In last 5 years has been an increase in the number of iwi requests seeking assistance to support their efforts to access information; increase in number of iwi/hapū organisations seeking solutions in management of iwi records and information. Recognise that there's an ongoing expense attached to maintaining records. Looking at working collaboratively. Some movement from full repatriation to virtual repatriation.

Important to have conversation first rather than make assumptions about where conversation is to go. Easy to forget the large population group you're serving when you're dealing with just a few people face-to-face.

  • establish precedent for future Māori-ArchivesNZ relationships
  • create win-win situations between ArchivesNZ and Māori
  • Hands-on cultural awareness training for staff
  • ...

Projects they've worked with:

Kai Tahu - pilot project selecting items that local hapū Ngāti Tūahuriri had. Turned out they had a system set up so ArchivesNZ only needed to create hyperlinks and they could make sure that information that was only for their people would remain secure; whereas information that could be shared with the public could be made public. Was some concern about how much information should be shared. Some didn't feel comfortable sharing it; others pointed out that their people lived across the globe. So now have mechanisms in place for those who can prove whakapapa.

Currently Taranaki Reo revitalisation Project. -Language identified as being in state of decline. Identifying and digitising records.

Tūhoe project to identify historical records re land area now known as Te Urewera National Park.

Common themes:
  • one size doesn't fit all
  • Māori are clear of where they want to be positioned in the work, discussions and decision-making process
  • aware of significant role ArchivesNZ can play in Treaty claims
  • want to be part of solution

Guiding principles
  • build a strong relationship with māori
  • competency in te reo and (local) tikanga adds to credibility
  • kaumātua provide guidance and advice - to get into communities, and talk to people, kaumātua open the door
  • iwi determine the scope for the research
  • iwi determine the criteria for quality of data - needs to be Māori-intuitive
  • involved in all phases of project, determining milestones, etc
  • iwi-nominated kairangahau (researchers) are appointed to do the work.
  • protocols re distribution of product rests with iwi
  • work conducted in a culturally appropriate way
  • database that identifies items of significance needs to comply with ArchivesNZ standards and meet needs of iwi
  • don't compromise originals
  • be clear about what is possible
  • when necessary, say no - gently
  • manage expectations and relationships well

Q re breakdowns in relationship
A: it occurs mostly when we let our ego get in the way and aren't willing to say we're wrong. Need to keep focus not on ourselves / our department, but on people we're wanting to encourage.

Q re records that might be borderline on what should and shouldn't be accessible
A: records will always be controversial, it's a matter of interpretation, fortunately iwi-nominated researchers pull out only records that they believe are of significance to them, so it helps that they're the ones making the decision.

Q re pay of researchers
A: Up to recently salary came from ArchivesNZ baseline budget. The researchers come in and learn all the jobs there so leave with good experience too.

Q re whether there's any homogenisation of Māori viewpoint vs iwi differences in a national organisation
A: Not their job to make judgement, it's about each iwi. Each iwi have their own mana.

Q re Māori-intuitive finding aids
A: Have been working on this since the Tainui project - this became the platform on which they can improve so they now have a template. 16 fields to complay with professional standards, now have added to this fields to include names of people and places mentioned in the records. Have tried to keep it simple as are looking to the database being usable by pākehā colleagues.