The Memory Waka

The Memory Waka Research Group, formed within the College of Creative Arts, Massey University (NZ), in 2011, initiates and supports projects concerned with memory including publishing the Memory Connection online journal.

Massey University’s Memory Waka partner is Syracuse University (USA). In September 2015 the Massey-Syracuse memory partnership was recognised by the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding in Wellington by Massey University’s Vice Chancellor, The Honourable Steve Maharey, and Syracuse representative, Professor Kendall R. Phillips, with the United States Ambassador to New Zealand, Mr Mark Gilbert, in attendance.

Forthcoming Waka projects include:

  • publication by Massey and Syracuse universities, of Volume 3 of Memory Connection online journal, “Memory Works” (January 2019) edited by Professor Ekaterina Haskins (PennState, USA), Professor Kendall R. Phillips (Syracuse), and Professor Kingsley Baird (Massey).
  • Living with Difficult Memories Symposium (Washington DC, Spring 2019) with Syracuse, and Massey universities at Syracuse’s Washington facility, Greenberg House.

    Greenberg House, Syracuse University, Washington DC, USA

Previous Memory Waka projects include:

  • Memory Work Symposium (New York, 19-21 May 2016) with Syracuse, York St John (UK), and Massey universities at Syracuse’s Manhattan facility, Lubin House. The symposium coincided with the international Trigger Points exhibition co-curated by NZ’s 2015 Venice Biennale Commissioner, Heather Galbraith, with Andrew Saluti, Assistant Director and Curator of Syracuse University Art Galleries. This is the first jointly-organised exhibition by the two universities and includes the work of leading international artists as well as works from Syracuse’s esteemed collection.
  • Triggering Memory Symposium (Wellington, NZ, 2-3 September 2015) in partnership with Syracuse University and in association with the Heather Galbraith-curated reflex, figment exhibition (The Engine Room, College of Creative Arts, Massey University, Wellington).
  • The Cultures of Memory Symposium II (York, UK, 8-11 October 2014), was held in partnership with Syracuse University and York St John University and hosted by YSJU. A key focus of the multi-faceted, international symposium was continuing to build the memory research and teaching partnership between the three organising institutions and establishing the foundation for future collaborations.
  • The Cultures of Memory Symposium (London and York, 16-20 October 2013) organised by Syracuse University (USA), Massey University, and York St John University (UK) along with University College London (UK).

The Memory Works, Triggering Memory, and The Cultures of Memory symposium programmes are available at the bottom of this page.

The Memory Waka Board:

Professor Kingsley Baird (chair), Massey University (NZ); Dr Paul Broks (UK); Professor Sir Mason Durie KNZM CNZM, Massey University (NZ); Distinguished Professor Sally J Morgan, Massey University (NZ); Professor Kendall Phillips, Syracuse University (USA); Professor Amos Kiewe, Syracuse University (USA); Professor Charles E. Morris III, Syracuse University (USA); Associate Professor Sam Van Aken, Syracuse University (USA); Professor Gary Peters, York St John University (UK); Professor Matthew Reason, York St John University (UK); David Richmond, York St John University (UK); Jules Dorey Richmond, York St John University (UK); Kura Puke (Massey University); Emma Febvre-Richards (Massey University).

Origin of The Memory Waka’s name

As a means of conveyance a waka is a Māori canoe. Waka has other meanings such as a receptacle or a chief's carved treasure box (waka huia) containing valuable possessions including prized feathers. Waka also refers to a body of people such as a kinship group. Metaphorically, the waka is a vessel of humanity, ideas, and culture. It is also (literally) a means of travel for people allied in a common cause (paddling in the same direction!).

Contact: Kingsley Baird,

Related information

Click to read the Contained Memory Pdf.
Click here to view the Memory Works programme.
Click here to view the Triggering Memory programme.
Click here to read the Cultures of Memory 2013 programme.

  • Memory Connection Journal

    Memory Connection is a multidisciplinary, peer-reviewed journal project of The Memory Waka Research Group (Massey University, New Zealand, and published in association with Syracuse University). Memory Connection provides a meeting place for multidisciplinary perspectives, discourses, and expressions of memory. The journal aims to facilitate interdisciplinary dialogue that may lead to different ways of seeing and the creation of new knowledge.

    General editors of Volume 1 were Professor Kingsley Baird (MU) and Professor Kendall Phillips (SU) with the addition of Professor Gary Peters (YSJU) for Volume 2. Volume 2 was edited by Professor Ekaterina Haskins (Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, USA).

    The first volume of the journal is 'Contained Memory' (2011) comprising 30 articles developed from conference papers selected from Contained Memory Conference 2010 Pupuri Pohewa. Volume 2, consisting of articles from the two Cultures of Memory events (2013 and 2014) was published in 2016.