Ngāi Tahu – Cultural Mapping Project


Matapura Ellison

Matapura Ellison standing at Puketeraki with Huriawa Peninsula in the background, 2017. Te Rūnanga o Ngāi Tahu Collection, Ngāi Tahu Archive. 2017-0271

Matapura Ellison compares the Cultural Mapping Project to an onion skin. “Peel one back, and there’s another layer and another layer. It’s a fantastic resource for those that are coming after us.”

Matapura took an interest in local Karitāne history from a young age, after hearing the stories of Te Wera and Taoka on Huriawa Peninsula. “I used to love walking around that pā site to see the flakes on the ground in the cooking area. Luckily I had access to my aunts and uncles who allowed me to pester them for knowledge. I feel privileged that they entrusted me with what they knew.”

Working alongside David Higgins as the Kaupapa Atawhai Manager for the Department of Conservation, Matapura played a key role in initiating the Cultural Mapping Project to ‘empower our people to understand the landscape.  I think that’s really where it started from and where we hoped it to go was to be able to empower our people. That was the ultimate desire.'

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<p>Matapura Ellison standing in-between Trevor Howse and Carolyn Campbell at Tāhuna (Glenorhcy) during a Cultural Mapping Hikoi to Whakatipu Waimāori (Lake Wakatipu) in 2010. Te Rūnanga o Ngāi Tahu Collection, Ngāi Tahu Archive, 2017-0271</p>

Matapura Ellison

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