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Niue texts researcher signs MOU with Tāoga Niue

Dr Pasisi with Director of Tāoga Niue Moira Enetama

Last week, Dr Jess Pasisi (Mutalau, Hikutavake, Niue; Ngāti Pikiao, Tahiti) signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) alongside Moira Enetama, Director of Tāoga Niue, Ministry of Social Services, of the Government of Niue. The MOU relates to Dr Pasisi’s Marsden Fast Start project “Mapping Niue texts in and beyond Aotearoa: Expanding on New Zealand Realm Connections to Niue through archival texts”. The project centres Tau Tagata Niue written, created and published works from archives in Niue, Aotearoa, around the Pacific and other key international sites.

Tau Tagata Niue have a vibrant history of writing and creating texts that have informed and expressed Niue knowledge for centuries. Working with Niue creative, journalist, radio producer and knowledge holder, Inangaro Manogihau Motufoou Vakaafi (Mutalau, Niue; Atiu, Manihiki) some time was spent on a continuing project with Tau Mamatua Niue, Niue elders, who had shared some of their experiences for Fakafiafia Niue, the Niue Happiness Project that was funded by the Health Research Council of New Zealand. The interviews for the HRC project were also supported with research assistance from Toliain Makaola. Continuing relationships in research helps to foster positive engagement and enduring relationships that can have far reaching benefits in the community and in scholarship.

Time in Niue was also spent tracing some stories from the Tāoga Niue archives. As a central hub for Niue tāoga, the national museum and its archive hold a significant and valuable collection of knowledge including writing from the 1800s to contemporary works, all of which Dr Pasisi hopes more local and diasporic Niue communities will be able to access and engage with so the expanse of Niue worlds can be more widely treasured and enjoyed.

The research team was also able to meet with key stakeholders and gain support for the Matala e Toume Conference, which had its Inaugural event in 2022. Matala e Toume celebrates and uplifts Niue knowledge from Tau Tagata Niue. Dr Pasisi is coordinating the conference with a collective of academics, creatives and other knowledge holders including Ioane Aleke-Fa’avae, Lisimoni Birtha Togahai, Rennie Atfield-Douglas and Cora-Allan Lafaiki Twiss.  The conference will have a specific focus on Niue elders’ knowledge and is scheduled to be held in Niue later this year.

Dr Pasisi with Niue knowledge holders (L-R): Fisa Pihigia, Bonnie Pihigia, Hariesa Faitala, Va’aiga Tukuitoga, Jess Pasisi, Rev Nuka Tauevihi, Rev Diamond Tauevihi, Salome Guest, Oisitiniva Ahi Kolose Talagi, and Inangaro Vakaafi

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