Origins: Maori Heritage Project (May 2011 - June 2012)

Funding has been awarded to our partner Border Crossings for the second Origins: Festival of First Nations by Arts Council England, and for the associated Participation and Learning project by the Heritage Lottery Fund. 


The Festival was held from June 28-July 9 2011, at Rich Mix and a host of other venues across London. Programme highlights included a major concert of First Nations music at Rich Mix, and a Family Day on Hampstead Heath, in partnership with the City of London Festival. 

The Participation and Learning project (continuing until June 2012), managed by Polygon Arts, is working with London schools and the Maori community to explore ceremony, culture and oral histories.


Students from Shapla Primary, Michael Faraday Primary and Hackney Free & Parochial Secondary schools worked with Maori artists. Their creative energies and the songs and rhythms they had learned were displayed when they formed part of the City of London Festival parade in July 2011. 


Year 6 students at Malorees Junior School, NW6 are learning interviewing, recording and editing skills and interviewing Maori Elders to record oral histories of their migration to Britain. They will also earn the Bronze Arts Award through their participation in the project.


An important part of the learning for all our participants is a visit to Hinemihi, the Maori Meeting House at Clandon Park, Surrey and a visit to the British Museum to view Maori collection items.



Throughout the programme, participants are exploring questions around the following themes: 

Engaging with Museum collections - why they are valuable, why they may be controversial or sensitive, how they may influence our understanding of a culture or community?

Oral History - what it is, why it is valuable, what might the sensitivities be around gathering and sharing?

Migration - what is 'home'? if/how do communities and cultures survive, adapt, change away from 'home'?