The Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies (AIATSIS) and The Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa (Te Papa) signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) in Wellington, New Zealand. The MOU outlines a commitment for the two organisations to work together in the field of Indigenous collections for the benefit of both organisations.
AIATSIS CEO Craig Ritchie welcomed the agreement and highlighted how the partnership will help both organisations to better preserve and share the stories of Australia and New Zealand’s Indigenous peoples.
“We are both committed to telling the long and continuing stories of our nations. By working together, we will ensure that those stories are preserved, protected and shared in the best ways possible for Aboriginal, Torres Strait Islander and Maori people,” Mr Ritchie said.
“This agreement for international cooperation means we can learn from each other's strengths and expertise, and continue to build our capabilities in a relationship of shared commitment and two way exchange.”
Te Papa was established by the Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa Act 1992 and has a role “to be a forum for the nation to present, explore, and preserve the heritage of its cultures and knowledge of the natural environment.”
Chief Executive of Te Papa Geraint Martin said the museum was delighted to sign the Memorandum of Understanding.
“As a bicultural institution, Te Papa is honoured to formalise our strong ties with The Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies. We have so much to learn from each other, and to explore and celebrate together.”
Te Papa’s Kaihautū (Māori co-leader) Dr Arapata Hakiwai said that Te Papa and the AIATSIS share common values.
“We share a deep commitment to scholarship, to community engagement, and to ensuring that the voices of indigenous communities are heard on their own terms. We look forward to working with our indigenous Australian colleagues to continue that mahi (work).”
AIATSIS and Te Papa hold vast cultural collections and administer large scale digitisation programs. Both organisations have strategic goals focused on preserving and making national collections accessible, as well as to lead and educate in areas of Indigenous research, ethics and protocols. This MOU is seen as a formal commitment to progressing those goals by sharing mutual expertise, knowledge and infrastructure.
This latest MOU with Te Papa reinforces AIATSIS’ intent to build diverse and enduring relationships internationally, following on from MOU’s signed with the Smithsonian NMAI in 2017 and with King’s College (London) and Oxford University’s Pitt Rivers Museum in 2016.
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