History project opens window into whānau's past

Imagine being able to hear the voice of your great grandparents, their life experiences and their aspirations, to help you navigate your way through life.

That's exactly what one wahine has done through an audio series called Dear Great Grands, made with the help of the Ministry of Pacific Peoples and its Kau Tulī programme for building confident thriving and resilient Pacific people.

Dear Great Grands creator Arizona Leger (Te Rarawa, Whakatōhea, Samoa, Tonga and Fiji) said the idea for the project came from a project that she was working on at AUT while completing her masters degree.

“We had to create an oral history project and I knew exactly which history I wanted to go learn about, which was the history of my grandparents.”

Leger said that she travelled to Kirikirirua and sat with her grandparents and started to record their stories about their lives.

“I realise that I have never heard stories about before because we had been so caught up in the life of them being our grandparents that I had forgotten that once upon a time they were very much young men and women walking figuring out the world as well.”

Leger said the project was picked up by the Ministry of Pacific Peoples and was offered the opportunity to create a well-being initiative.

Dear Great Grands is based on 15 young people and the way they experience the world. Leger explained to them that they "don't wait for the moments where history begins to write our story. How about we write about what it's like to be twenty-something in the world right now".

Leger said she was completely fascinated by her grandparents' love story and said she really appreciated how she came to be "hearing about their history, which is our future”.