Haneta with the Meri Mygind Award

Haneta with the Meri Mygind Award

In the interests of letting you get to know the people who are helping to organise your LIANZA conference we’re asking important questions of some of the key players. This week we get up close and personal with Christchurch City Libraries’ head of Māori Services, Haneta Pierce…

Ko Ngāti Mūtunga kei Wharekauri toku Iwi
Ko Tokomaru te waka
Ko Taranaki te maunga tapu
Ko Urenui te awa
Ko Urenui te marae
Ko Haneta Pierce ahau
Kaiwhakahaere Rātonga Māori ki Ngā Kete Wānanga o Ōtautahi
Tēnā koutou katoa

Kia ora whaea Haneta, you’ve been involved with libraries for a while now, particularly focusing on library services to Māori. Can you tell us a bit about your library career?

I began my library career at the Christchurch Polytechnic Library in 1989. In 1995 I was persuaded to apply for the position of Māori Resources Librarian, based in the New Zealand Collection of the then Canterbury Public Library. The position was approved and created by Christchurch City Council to commemorate the“Year of Māori Language” in an effort to increase its own bicultural commitment.

For those reading who aren’t really familiar with the role, what does the Bicultural Chair for the LIANZA conference do?

LIANZA has a formal partnership with Te Rōpū Whakahau (uniting Māori librarians and information specialists in Aotearoa New Zealand). My role is to represent Te Rōpū Whakahau to ensure that the partnership is evident. The role is to advise, support and assist LIANZA with their conference planning to ensure that bicultural elements are included. I have a bicultural sub-committee who work with me to share the workload.

Ka pai ki mua
Ka pai ki muri
Ka pai nga mea katoa

If things go right at the back
then things will go right at the front
and everyone will be happy

This year’s LIANZA conference is in Christchurch, the mana whenua of which are Ngai Tahu, though you’re not from this iwi yourself. Do you think that impacts on your ability to act as the Bicultural Chair, and if not, why?

No not at all. Four members of the Bicultural sub-committee whakapapa to Ngāi Tahu anyway so we have some great connections. I am linked through my own whakapapa to the Chatham Islands which also helps. I guess because I have been the Māori Service Coordinator at Christchurch City Libraries for over 13 years now, I have built up the trust and support of local Māori communities.

What does the theme of this year’s conference “he tangata, he tangata, he tangata” mean to you?

I think it really fuses people, community, humanity together. Acknowledging the past, embracing the present and advancing the future is all about people and libraries play a vital role in this vision.

What do you like to do in your spare time?

What spare time?

Which literary character do you most relate to and why?

That’s a tricky one , my whanau often describe me as being ‘down to earth’ so they would probably say ‘Papatuanuku’ earth mother. But I like to think of myself as ‘Kahukura’, the rainbow goddess, having many different facets and colours to describe my personality and values.

I tupu ake te harakeke i a Papatuanuku

The harakeke that grows forth from the earth Mother