Sunday, December 04, 2005

Te Ropu Whakahau (TRW): Maori in Libraries & Information Management

In this blog entry I'll introduce the Maori national library association in Aoteaora-New Zealand. While only about ten years old, Te Ropu Whakahau is a model organization for advancing library services for an indigenous community.

TRW was first a SIG of LIANZA=Te Rau Herenga O Aotearoa (Library and Information Association of New Zealand-Aotearoa), ALA's equivalent in Aotearoa-New Zealand. In 1996, TRW incorporated as a separate organization with an executive council that meets six times a year. TRW members may also form regional associations. TRW has a formal agreement with LIANZA that seats two TRW members on the LIANZA council. (This would be the equivalent of ALA providing Council seats for members of affiliated ethnic library associations.) In turn, TRW provides LIANZA with services to help the national library association recognize and implement activities in agreement with the Treaty of Waitangi. TRW members conducted several early research studies (Te Ara Tika: Maori and Libraries; Te Ara Tika Guiding Voices: Maori Opinion on Libraries and Information Needs). Results of these studies led to the establishment of a Maori Subject Headings Steering Committee. A set of subject headings was officially launched at the annual LIANZA national conference in September 2005. TRW also is involved in Maori library education, participating in training/education provided through the Te Wananga o Raukawa, one of three tribal colleges in Aotearoa-New Zealand. TRW's third partnership is in providing a forum for international indigenous librarianship, launching the first of the international indigenous librarians forums in Auckland in 1999.

In addition to the Council meetings, TRW members organize an annual hui (gathering) and publish a quarterly newsletter. Additional information, includng TRW waiata (songs), is available on the TRW Web site.

TRW vision statement: "Waiho i e toipoto, kaua i te toiroa. Let us keep close not wide apart. To unite indigenous librarians with innovative, excellent leadership."

Reading Circle:

I recently read Kinky Friedman's "Kill Two Birds and Get Stoned." Friedman, mystery writer and former musician ("Kinky Friedman and the Texas Jewboys") is a 2006 Candidate for Texas governor. Unlike his other 16 novels, "Kill Two Birds" is best classified as a general fiction novel. A beatiful muse and her eccentric friend help Walter Snow break through a writer's block and make progress in writing The Great Armenian Novel. Kinky reminds us that "no one believes fiction even if it's the truth."

I also finished reading Keri Hulme's first collection of short stories, Te Kaihau; The Windeater, first published in 1986 and reprinted by Victoria University Press in 1996. Hulme received the 1985 Booker prize for her novel, the bone people. Stories feature contemporary Maori life. The afterward is a summary of the life of Maui, the Maori cultural hero.