Te Rōpū Whakahau member, Vicki-Anne Heikell (Nō Te Whānau-a-Apanui) was recently made a member of the New Zealand Order of Merit for services to heritage preservation and Māori.
I am fortunate that I can do a job I love and work with iwi, hapū and whānau to tautoko the preservation of their photographs, their whānau papers and increasingly their digital collections.
It was the drive and determination of wāhine toa like Mina McKenzie, Waana Davis, Te Aue Davis and Ngahuia Te Awekotuku who decided that our cultural sector needed Māori trained as conservators and set about making that happen.
My first job as a qualified paper conservator was at the Alexander Turnbull Library where I have been lucky to be guided, told off and supported by wāhine toa at the Library – Mīria Simpson who translated the first preservation leaflets in te reo, Bella Tarawhiti who made sure all Māori working in the Library building were there for each other; Meri Mygind, Gabe Hikaka, Mereana Coleman who along with Glen Taitoko and Wharehuia Hemara opened my eyes to rich collections the Library holds. I treasure that I have been able to sit next to Kōkā Taina Tangaere-McGregor at work every day, improving my reo, listening and learning.
Hinureina Mangan and Belinda Woodman as Takawaenga-a-rohe organised the first marae-based preservation wānanga and continued with Rangiiria Hedley. Preservation wānanga continue to reveal new ideas and whānau who are increasingly confident about their own mātauranga.
“The support I have received inspires a responsibility to support our emerging kaimahi Māori.”