Moutoa memories to be recorded

By Laurel Stowell

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The 1995 occupation of  Pakaitore/Moutoa Gardens was a momentous time in the history of both Wanganui and New Zealand - and a group believes it has got to be recorded.

The Pakaitore Oral History Project has been set up to do just that, over the next two years.

The current co-ordinator is Wanganui's Community Education Service (CES) manager Rosemary Hovey. She applied to Adult Community Education (ACE) Aotearoa to fund a collaborative project and received $5000. CES is to be the fund holder.

Those 79 days in 1995 were a tumultuous time to live through, as Wanganui people will remember. Their history has never been recorded. Everyone in the project's working group agrees this must be done.

"That history is being lost as people pass away. We need to capture it before it's too late," Mrs Hovey said.

The idea is to interview the full range of those involved at the time - the occupiers, including people who were children at the time and are now in their 30s, and people from churches, the police, the council, neighbouring properties and the media.

Parts of the interviews will be turned into print, and some may also be filmed.

The working group is drawn from the Wanganui District Council, the city's museum and library and from Whanganui Maori. The idea came from treaty educators David James and Jillian Wychel, both QSM, who are also involved, as is Putiki's Huia Kirk.

Exactly where the finished resource will be held is still to be decided. The group has been debating intellectual property issues.

It already has seven Maori and seven non-Maori interviewers lined up for two days' training by the Turnbull Library Oral History Archive staff.

Each interviewer will be expected to do up to 15 long interviews. Those will be unpaid, but there may be some payment for making the printed extracts. The training will be fantastic, Mrs Hovey said, and could help interviewers get other paid work.

- Wanganui Chronicle

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