Indigenous Realities

The Indigenous Knowledges Conference held at Victoria University in June 2005 proved a hugely successful gathering. Directors of HistoryWorks Ltd were in attendance throughout the four-day gathering in their capacity as sponsors of the conference.

Moka Apiti, Mapping Director and member of the conference organising committee, also accompanied about 20 conference delegates who began the conference with a hikoi from Auckland down to Wellington, including a two-day noho marae at Ngati Whare’s Murumurunga marae at Te Whaiti, on the fringes of the Urewera National Park. The hikoi, intended to provide an insight into the day-to-day issues confronting local Maori communities, proved hugely popular with international and some local delegates.

Among their number was Erykah Kyle, who as a keynote speaker at the conference proper, provided a riveting and impassioned insight into the problems confronting her own Aboriginal community on Palm Island. In 1974 Amnesty International described conditions on Palm Island as akin to those of a concentration camp. Her sobering message to the conference was that little appeared to have changed in the past thirty years and that little would change until Aboriginal people were properly empowered and resourced to manage their own affairs. [Added 12 October 2005]

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