Ngāi Tahu – Cultural Mapping Project


James Mason Russell

James Mason Russell standing at Manuhaea during a cultural mapping hikoi, March 2010. Te Rūnanga o Ngāi Tahu Collection, Ngāi Tahu Archive, 2017-0271

James Mason Russell was born at the Tāpuwai kāika on the north bank of the Arahura River. A member of the Ngaitahu Maori Trust Board when the Ngāi Tahu Claim was lodged with the Waitangi Tribunal, Jimmy retired from his work on the ferries to help with the Claim. “I envisaged that the Claim was going to be a major part of our history, and I wanted to be part of that.”

Jimmy gave evidence on the histories, traditions, place names, and mahika kai of Te Tai Poutini (the West Coast) during the Waitangi Tribunal hearings. Shortly after the Cultural Mapping Project began, Jimmy was asked to be part of the cultural mapping project. “What is important is the story behind the name. If we had to put all of the information gathered for the project on A4 paper it would probably run into a volume of a hundred thousand pages. It is huge.”

A current member of Te Pae Korako (the Ngāi Tahu Archive Advisory Committee), responsible for the overview and development of the Ngāi Tahu Archive, Jimmy continues to be an integral part of the Cultural Mapping team, lending expertise and giving guidance as the project continues to develop and grow.

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<p>James Mason Russell at Arahura, Te Tai Poutini. Ngaitahu Maori Trust Board Collection, Ngāi Tahu Archive, 2016-305</p>

James Mason Russell

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