A tribute to people and places wins Moana Oceania Award

Wednesday 18 November 2020 | Written by Losirene Lacanivalu | Published in Local, National

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A tribute to people and places wins Moana Oceania Award
Cook Islander Emma Ngakuraevaru Powell has been awarded the Moana Oceania Award for the 2020 Early Career Researchers ataata video competition.20111715

An obsession with genealogies, and wanting to know where people are from and how they are connected has led to a prestigious award for Emma Powell. Losirene Lacanivalu reports. 

Aotearoa born Cook Islander Emma Ngakuraevaru Powell has been awarded the Moana Oceania Award for the 2020 Early Career Researchers ataata video competition.

Powell is currently completing her PhD in Pacific Studies at Victoria University in Wellington and had entered the competition by submitting a 180 second video project.

The video competition is funded by the Royal Society Te Apārangi Early Career Researcher Forum with support from the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment.

According to the Royal Society New Zealand Powell studies the everyday lives of Cook Islands Māori people to explore how 'akapapa 'anga, or genealogy, is used and understood.

Powell’s mother is from Atiu and her father is from Mangaia, her PhD focuses on genealogies - how Cook Islands people use genealogies and why.

She earlier told Cook Islands News there is an obsession with genealogies, “where we really want to know where people are from and how we relate”.

Her video explains that her research is a celebration of the unique world view of Cook Islands Maori people.

She says: “The video and the project is a tribute to the people, places and papa‘anga that we all belong to, the study of which has just changed my life profoundly.”

Powell said the award is an acknowledgement of Pacific scholarship, to Cook Islands early career researchers and the value of the people’s knowledge-making traditions.

“It’s good to see that recognised by New Zealand’s foremost research funding body – because that’s about all of us, all of us that belong to Te Moana Nui o Kiva,” she said.

“Trying to compress a PhD into 180-seconds without losing its depth is pretty impossible but I did my best with this video.”