NZ Ministry for Culture and Heritage appoints Rachel Yates as new Senior Pacific Historian

The New Zealand Ministry for Culture and Heritage has appointed Rachel Yates as its first Senior Pacific Historian.

Secretary for Culture and Heritage Laulu Mac Leauanae says, “we are thrilled to welcome Rachel to the Manatū Taonga whare. The role has been created to ensure that the histories of Pacific peoples in Aotearoa New Zealand are documented and preserved for future generations.”

Laulu adds that a key focus of the role will be working with the Ministry for Pacific Peoples and the Pasifika community to create a comprehensive historical record of the Dawn Raids period.

Tagata Pasifika reports of Samoan heritage from Vaisala in Savaii, Rachel comes to Culture and Heritage from Te Papa Tongarewa Museum of New Zealand, where she worked as a Pacific Cultures and Histories Curator specialising in projects with Pacific communities within New Zealand and the wider Pacific region.

Her projects include co-collecting climate change stories in Tokelau, a local community tapa cloth exhibition, and Making Histories: Communities and Covid-19. Her doctoral research in Pacific Studies at Te Herenga Waka Victoria University of Wellington is a qualitative project that explores gendered skilled migration in the 21st century and the experiences of Pasifika women teaching English in South Korea.

Rachel says, “In accepting this role, I accept our collective commitment to advocate for, resource, and preserve Pasifika histories. I am humbled by the opportunity and look forward to working closely with Manatū Taonga staff, Ministry for Pacific Peoples, institutional partners, and most importantly our Pasifika communities in creating a robust resource to record Pasifika histories.”

Rachel will start her new role this month.


Photo: Te Papa