Seeking Expressions of Interest: Memory of the World New Zealand register


Trafalgar Street, Queen Victoria Jubilee, 1887. Nelson Provincial Museum, Tyree Studio Collection: 181975

The UNESCO Memory of the World New Zealand Trust is calling for Expressions of Interest for new inscriptions to the New Zealand register by 30 April 2018. 

Advantages of an inscription on the register include:

  • ensuring that our history and our stories are not forgotten
  • highlighting the significance of the information /knowledge contained in collections
  • recognition by an independent organisation (UNESCO)
  • public recognition of the importance of documentary heritage
  • publicity and promotion for your institution
  • to be part of an international network of the most important documentary heritage in the world
  • increased possibility of attracting resources (to care for, preserve and promote the collection)
  • raised awareness of the work done by custodians of documentary heritage.

UNESCO Global Geoparks programme to be established in New Zealand

GL7284 WEBThe New Zealand National Commission for UNESCO is delighted to announce the establishment of a UNESCO Global Geoparks programme in New Zealand. 

“This will bring global recognition to areas of internationally significant geology in New Zealand that meet UNESCO’s criteria,” says Dr Geoff Hicks, Natural Sciences Commissioner, New Zealand National Commission for UNESCO (pictured).

The National Commission has appointed a Geoparks Expert Advisory Panel to encourage and support New Zealand nominations for UNESCO Global Geopark status. Expressions of interest are open until April 2018 and shortlisted applicants will then be invited to develop a full dossier.

The National Commission is able to recommend up to two New Zealand candidates per year for Global Geopark status. The full application process, including assessment by UNESCO, can potentially take a number of years.

Talking climate change and Global Citizenship Education

“Climate action is not only a moral responsibility, it is a necessity for human survival.”

From left: Libby Giles, Ronja Ievers, Mareike Hachemer.

This was one of the key takeaway messages Ronja Ievers and Libby Giles took from the 23rd meeting of the Conference of the Parties (COP 23) of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) in Bonn, Germany.

The pair received minor grant funding from the New Zealand National Commission for UNESCO to attend the conference, with Ronja attending in week one and Libby in week two. The conference was held under the presidency of the government of Fiji, the first time a small island nation has served in this role.

Youth Leadership training on Education for Sustainable Development

A three-day workshop in Bangkok, Thailand has set Special Advisor Youth Danielle Newton on a new path – to live more sustainably and to empower others to do the same.Danielle Newton in group cropped

Danielle was selected to attend the Asia-Pacific Regional Workshop for Youth Leadership Training on Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) from 15-17 November. The workshop is part of a series of youth training taking place globally under the Global Action Programme on Education for Sustainable Development. It aims to create a network of active youth leaders who are mobilising others to take action for sustainability.

“This workshop was incredibly valuable for building professional and personal networks, particularly with leaders from the Pacific,” says Danielle. “It really inspired a lot of personal reflection and commitment to make changes in my own life and lead by example.”

The training included two online sessions and a three-day workshop. During the workshop, participants went on an experiential field trip to the Bang Krachao “Green Lung” community, an urban oasis alongside Bangkok’s Chao Phraya River.

Overview of 2017 UNESCO General Conference

Report by Vicki Soanes, Secretary General, New Zealand National Commission for UNESCO

The biennial UNESCO General Conference was held in Paris between 30 October and 14 November.

The New Zealand delegation was led by the Chair of the New Zealand National Commission for UNESCO Robyn Baker, and included New Zealand’s Permanent Delegate to UNESCO, Charles Kingston, his Deputy Emma Delage, National Commission Secretary General Vicki Soanes, and Culture Commissioner Dr Arapata Hakiwai, who joined the delegation for the second week to cover the Culture Commission.From left: Charles Kingston, Dr Arapata Hakiwai, Vicki Soanes, Robyn Baker.

The UNESCO General Conference brings together UNESCO’s 195 Member States and 10 Associate Members, together with observers, intergovernmental organisations and NGOs. The Member States make decisions on a range of agenda items, including the adoption of the Programme and Budget. Other decisions taken during the General Conference include a revision of the Recommendation on the Status of Scientific Researchers, a Declaration on the Ethical Principles of Climate Change and a resolution on strengthening UNESCO leadership in the implementation of the ‘UN Plan of Action on Safety of Journalists and the Issue of Impunity’.

Seven new inscriptions on UNESCO Memory of the World NZ register

Seven new inscriptions have been added to the UNESCO Memory of the World New Zealand register.

Memory of the World New Zealand Trust Chair Dianne Macaskill announced the new inscriptions at a function at Auckland Libraries on 29 November.

There are now 27 documentary heritage collections on the New Zealand register.  Each is a valuable source of research for historians, researchers, educators and many others in New Zealand and the world.

UNESCO recognition draws attention to the significance of documentary heritage and the importance of ensuring it is preserved and made accessible.

The successful inscriptions are:

J.T. Diamond Collection (nominated by Auckland Libraries)

The personal archive of John (Jack) Thomas Diamond MBE. As a self-described amateur historian and archeologist, Jack documented the history of West Auckland over a time of significant change from the 1930s to the 1980s.

Ng New Zealand Chinese Heritage Collection (nominated by the Presbyterian Research Centre, Dunedin)

A collection of documents gathered since 1959 by Dr James Ng and his wife Eva Ng which sheds considerable light on 19th and early 20th Century Chinese history in New Zealand.

Update on Wellington Zoo’s Rangatahi Roots & Shoots Programme

Report by Sarah Morris, Learning Experience Manager, Wellington Zoo Trust

The New Zealand National Commission provided minor grant funding to Wellington Zoo’s Rangatahi Roots & Shoots programme. Sarah Morris provides an update on how the pilot programme is going so far.

As part of the Zoo revolution we have been piloting a Rangatahi Roots & Shoots for young people who are passionate about animals, people and the environment (A.P.E.). Because these three things are vital to all of us, they can be used as a common building block to unite communities.


The rangatahi participate in a variety of activities both inside and outside of the Zoo. Participants get the opportunity to learn about many aspects of our Zoo, while the Zoo benefits from having access to a group of young people with energy, motivation and a genuine interest in taking action on the mounting issues their generation face.

Kiwi researcher awarded for work on indigenous health and wellbeing

Trish Carter and Dr Matire HarwoodCommunication and Information Commissioner Trish Carter (pictured left) attended an Auckland ceremony on 2 November, held in honour of clinical researcher Dr Matire Harwood, winner of a prestigious fellowship in the L'Oréal UNESCO For Women in Science programme.

Dr Harwood received the $250,000 fellowship for her research in addressing the inequities of health related outcomes between indigenous and non-indigenous people. Her research is important to the 400 million indigenous people around the world and it could improve their health outcomes not only in New Zealand but also internationally.

“Indigenous health and wellbeing is an international priority, with long-term conditions the biggest contributor to life expectancy gaps worldwide,” says Dr Harwood.  “Achieving equity within health and wellbeing will have a positive impact on the lives of patients, as well as for the community, the nation and the world over.

Dunedin UNESCO City of Literature to hold Creative Cities hui

Creative Cities Hui 2017 A4 NO TEXT compressedDunedin UNESCO City of Literature is holding a Creative Cities Southern Hui from Tuesday 28 November to Saturday 2 December.

The collaborative event, sponsored by the New Zealand National Commission for UNESCO and held in partnership with the University of Otago’s Centre for the Book, is free and open to all, with registration essential.

The Hui offers events, talks and workshops around the themes of creativity, connection and collaboration. Each event is open to all creative minds; an opportunity to foster creative connections through all disciplines and interests.

The Hui programme includes:

  • Centre for the Book: Books and Users, a day of presentations and discussions, exploring the many ways we interact with books, and probing the meaning of ‘user’
  • Creative Connections aims to explore creativity as the touchstone of healthy and sustainable communities, and celebrate the power of collaboration to inspire. The wealth of exciting keynote speakers includes Steven Edmund Winduo (Papua New Guinea), Anna Maria Lorusso (Bologna UNESCO City of Music), and Noel Waite (Melbourne UNESCO City of Literature)
  • Transitions and Transformations is a participatory workshop, facilitated by Noel Waite, inviting creative minds to identify ways to collaborate and develop sustainable creative partnerships.

Arts Centre receives prestigious UNESCO heritage award

Arts Centre Clock Tower building Worcester BoulevardThe immaculate heritage restoration of two Arts Centre buildings has received an Award of Merit in the prestigious UNESCO Asia-Pacific Awards for Cultural Heritage Conservation.

It’s the fourth time a New Zealand project has been recognised by the awards, with the Arts Centre taking out honours in a field of 43 projects from 10 countries.

It received the award for the post-earthquake restoration of two of the site’s most historically valuable buildings – the Great Hall and Clock Tower.

Judged by an international panel of conservation experts, a total of 16 awards were presented to diverse projects from six countries – the others being from Australia, China, India, Iran and Singapore.

Auckland becomes UNESCO Creative City of Music

auckland city of music photo splore festival serena stevensonAuckland has become a City of Music, joining the UNESCO Creative Cities Network.

Auckland’s successful bid, along with 11 other music cities worldwide, was announced by UNESCO Director-General Irina Bokova on 31 October.

“The UNESCO Creative Cities Network is at the frontline of UNESCO’s efforts to foster innovation and creativity as key drivers for a more sustainable and inclusive urban development,” says Robyn Baker, Chair of the New Zealand National Commission for UNESCO.

“We warmly congratulate Auckland Council on its successful bid.”

Councillor Alf Filipaina, a staunch supporter of the bid made by Auckland Council working with Recorded Music NZ and APRA (Australasian Performing Right Association), is thrilled to share Auckland’s distinctive sound with the world and strengthen music opportunities in the city.

"From indie folk and brass bands to waiata aroha, the Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra and Lorde, there’s no doubt music is a part of us. It goes right to Auckland’s roots, with waiata woven into our history and everyday culture," he says.

"Supporting Auckland as a creative city and growing our music industry will enrich city life, the cultural landscape and build community identity and liveability for all Aucklanders.

Meet our new Youth Reference Group members

The New Zealand National Commission for UNESCO is delighted to announce the six new members of our Youth Reference Group: Shaymaaa Arif, Injy Johnstone, Peter McKenzie, Ashlee Peacock, Nola Smart and Charlotte Steel.

“We received applications from 100 incredibly talented young people and it was a very difficult decision to narrow them down to six,” says Libby Frampton, an advisor in the National Commission’s Secretariat who is responsible for the youth portfolio.

The Youth Reference Group is chaired by the Special Advisor – Youth (currently Danielle Newton) and provides advice to the National Commission on how to engage young people in UNESCO’s work programmes. 

Shaymaa Arif

Shaymaa crop Shaymaa (22) recently graduated with a Law and Social Sciences degree from Waikato University and is now a qualified barrister and solicitor. Her achievements include being selected for the Aotearoa Youth Leadership Institution Delegation for the World Heritage Committee 41st Session in Poland, representing Te Piringa Faculty of Law in the National International Humanitarian Law Mooting Competition in Wellington, and being selected for the Delegation of New Zealand for the prestigious Shop for World Youth Programme in 2016. She received the Waikato Student Unions Scholarship for Cultural Contribution 2016 and was a 2015 finalist in the Westpac New Zealand Women of Influence Awards in the ‘Young Leader’ Category. She is also a Trustee of the family-founded Charitable Trust ‘Tamariki Outreach’, which sponsors Syrian orphans and helps the local community through aiding vulnerable members as well as connecting the Muslim community with the non-Muslim community.

Global Citizenship Education Award launched

Education 820pxThe New Zealand National Commission for UNESCO is seeking to reward projects that foster global citizenship through its inaugural Global Citizenship Education (GCED) Award.

Applicants from the education sector and community groups are invited to tell the National Commission about their global citizenship education projects or develop new ones between now and March 2018 to be in to win cash prizes.

“GCED aims to empower learners to assume active roles to face and resolve global challenges and to become proactive contributors to a more peaceful, tolerant, inclusive and secure world,” says Robyn Baker, Chair of the New Zealand National Commission for UNESCO. 

Kids’ Polling Booth teaches civic responsibility

kids polling boothAround 300 children in the Wellington region aged 5-12 got a taste of democracy in action during the General Election thanks to the efforts of independent theatre company Barbarian Productions.

With support from the National Commission, the group set up a mock polling station at Vogelmorn Bowling Club and invited children to cast their vote and campaign for what they believed in. Children from local schools also visited during the lead up to the election.

"With the Kids’ Polling Booth we wanted to offer children an opportunity to experience firsthand the embodied experience of voting – actually going into the booth and making the choice for themselves, then posting into the ballot box,” says Head Clown Thomas LaHood.

“We also wanted to create a space encouraging children to come forward with their own ideas, concerns and political voices. We are always very inspired working with children, and especially so in these areas of civic rights and responsibilities and social values.”

Six major grant recipients announced

bg title waka houruaThe New Zealand National Commission for UNESCO has awarded six grants worth $125,550 in total in its UNESCO’s 2017/2018 Contestable Funding Round.

The successful projects range from a collaborative wānanga aimed at finding solutions for kauri dieback and wider forest ecosystem conservation to a youth project focused on building the capacity of young people to make a positive difference in their communities, to a pilot programme for Peace Week.

“We received a number of excellent proposals but the six we selected most strongly reflected our mission and strategic priorities, and have the potential to lead to positive long-term change at a national or regional level,” says Robyn Baker, Chair of the National Commission.

“We’re excited about sharing the outcomes of these projects.”

National Commission represented at Iwi Chairs Forum

Representatives of the National Commission attended the Iwi Chairs Forum in Whakatane on 3 August, hosted by Ngati Awa at Te Manuka Tūtahi Marae.Iwi Chairs Forum crop

Thanks to an introduction facilitated by Social Sciences Commissioner Materoa Dodd, Chair Robyn Baker and Culture Commissioner Dr Arapata Hakiwai were invited to profile UNESCO and share the current priorities and work programme of the National Commission at the Forum.

The Forum is a platform for sharing knowledge and information between the tangata whenua of Aotearoa, with hui four times a year hosted at different marae throughout the country. The primary focus is for participants to educate one another about what they are doing, how they are doing it and how they can best support one another.

Youth Reference Group out and about

Teina and DanielleTwo members of our Youth Reference Group, Teina Wells-Smith and Danielle Newton, did an excellent job of representing the National Commission in August. Below are the activities they have been involved in.

Nga Rangatahi A Iwi forum

Teina Wells-Smith attended the Nga Rangatahi A Iwi (NRAI) forum. This was part of the Iwi Chairs Forum, which is an opportunity for Māori from different iwi to share information and aspirations around topics of cultural, environmental, social, economic and political development.

NRAI participants are young Māori representatives of their iwi. As part of the day Teina joined a group discussion about Pou Taiao (environment), where they brainstormed ideas around  barriers that prevent rangatahi (young people) from connecting themselves to the environment through kaitiakitanga (guardianship).

Teina says he came away from the day inspired and with invaluable connections to future iwi leaders.

Could you be the next youth voice of UNESCO?

Are you aged between 18 and 25 and want to take action to promote peace and social justice in New Zealand and the Pacific? Then we want to hear from you.

The New Zealand National Commission for UNESCO is recruiting new members for its UNESCO NZ Youth Reference Group (YRG) to advise us on an ongoing basis.

UNESCO (the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation) is the global organisation that contributes to the building of peace, sustainable development, intercultural dialogue and the eradication of poverty through the five programme areas of education, the sciences, culture, communication and information.

The New Zealand National Commission for UNESCO works through these five areas within the context of New Zealand and the Pacific.

Hearing the voice of youth within our work is vital, so we are looking for people who have:

  • a strong commitment to the UNESCO ideals
  • knowledge and interest in at least one of five programme areas of UNESCO
  • demonstrable interest in activities or organisations involving youth
  • an understanding of youth issues
  • the availability to actively participate and commit to the work of UNESCO and
  • the ability to express views clearly at meetings.

Successful applicants will form a group chaired by the Special Advisor – Youth that provides advice to the National Commission. During the year, there will be up to three National Commission meetings in Wellington that you must attend. You will also need to be available on email to communicate with the Youth Advisor and the Secretariat. Terms are either for one year or two years.

If you want be part of the UNESCO NZ Youth Reference Group, send your one page expression of interest (including current occupation, area of interest and reasons for wishing to contribute to the values of UNESCO) and your CV as soon as possible but no later than Monday 21 August 2017.

Please contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., Advisor, New Zealand National Commission for UNESCO, if you have any questions.

Note: This is an unpaid role, although all associated expenses will be covered. The role requires domestic and possibly some international travel.

Celebrating Imagining Decolonised Cities prizewinners

IDC winners with RobynThe winners of the Imagining Decolonised Cities (IDC) contest, supported by our last round of contestable funding, were announced in May. Chair Robyn Baker attended a prizegiving of one of the winning teams (Runner Up Under 18) this month, comprising four high school students from Te Kura Kaupapa Māori o Ngā Mokopuna in Wellington — (pictured from left with Robyn Baker) Paige Scruton Nepe Apatu, Watene Campbell, Christian Mauriri and Te Hoera Sullivan (absent). Submissions to the contest can now be viewed on the IDC website

Contestable funding round 2017/18 now open

The New Zealand National Commission for UNESCO is calling for Expressions of Interest for its contestable funding round by 30 June.

Applications are primarily being sought for ‘major grant’ funding from $15,000 to the level of $40,000. Minor grant funding is also available for amounts under $5,000.

“We are seeking innovative projects, events, programmes or initiatives that reflect our mission and strategic priorities,” says Robyn Baker, Chair of the National Commission.

“As UNESCO is an organisation of ‘ideas’, we are especially interested in projects that demonstrate new ways of working and which have the potential to lead to positive long-term change at a national or regional level.”