In the midst of an enduring water crisis, Awa Stories is an invitation to ten local residents to share their memories and hopes for wai/vai/water and our local awa - te Whau.
A drop of rain, fresh-water fish, a full-moon swim. What is your first memory of water? Where is ‘your’ river? Can you taste, smell, hear it still, after all these years?
It was launched in March this year with a photo exhibition along Great North Road in the middle of Avondale town centre. These portraits introduce each person and their awa story, with text in te reo Māori.
Part two of Awa Stories is a series of short video interviews with the subjects from their home and on te Whau itself. Conceived as part of the annual environmental festival EcoFest West, the Awa Stories team have achieved something very permanent: a record of a range of locals’ personal connection to their awa, in a modern take on oral history traditions.
Last month the Whau Pasifika Komiti hosted an Awa Stories celebration at Avondale Library to showcase the rich and diverse stories within our community and to thank everyone involved. The message was clear from everyone, "if you respect yourselves and each other, you respect the land and our environment". The project was then formally received into the Kura Heritage Collection by Sue Berman, Auckland Libraries Oral Histories Lead.
The team has done a brilliant job in taking a vision for Awa Stories and putting in the hard work to see it to completion. John Rata’s video work was central to the project and deserves a special mention.
Find out more here: https://www.ecomatters.org.nz/event/awa-stories/
Awa Stories was produced by Ina Patisolo as part of EcoFest West's 'Arts on Climate Change', in collaboration with EcoMatters, I Love Avondale, John Rata, Cathy Livermore and Te Kawerau a Maki, with support from Whau Local Board, Panuku Development Auckland and Healthy Waters.