One of the things I enjoy about Te Rōpū Whakahau’s hui-ā-tau is the opportunity to go to a different place and find out about what’s going on in the local area, the history, the whakapapa, and sometimes the mahi of local people.
Guest speaker Takerei Norton (Kāi Tahi, iwi of Te Tau Ihu) works at Te Runanga o Ngāi Tahu and is currently employed as part of a team involved in cultural heritage mapping using GIS (Geographic Information Systems).
He and his colleagues are charged with locating and documenting sites or “values” that have some historical or cultural signficance to the iwi with the aim of identifying the most iconic sites, so that efforts can be made to preserve, protect and improve access to them.
This involves research of the “librarian-y” kind, delving into documents, published accounts, maps etc. but also site visits where photography and filming take place, sometimes GPS is used, and the stories of the whenua and the people as recalled by kaumatua are recorded.
I spoke to Takerei about his work on this project, its goals and why it’s important for Ngāi Tahu.
For more on TRONT’s cultural mapping project check out the following –
- A shorter version of the Powerpoint presentation Takerei used at the hui (pdf).
- High & Goodbye? – article from Heritage magazine online
- Cultural Heritage Mapping – article from Te Karaka magazine online
- Other presentations on the topic of Māori and GIS mapping (Ngāi Tahu website).