Perception is everything

Wikipedia defines Perception as: ” (from the Latin perceptio, percipio) is the organization, identification, and interpretation of sensory information in order to represent and understand the environment.”

All very well I think – however there is more to it than meets the eye (as always). I’ve been thinking lately as to the reason/s for my problems with funding the aforementioned research trip to Europe to study and catalogue taonga Maori.

Large Kakahu
Large Kakahu

This seems to be two fold – the funding applications that I submitted to various organisations did not state clearly enough the reasons why I am applying and most importantly why am I the person who is most likely to achieve the desired result – or in the actual words of one of the replies:

“…, in addition please provide the following information:

– Prior experience in similar research and cataloguing work;as well as producing online databases.

further details of the on-line database which you intend to create; including how its ongoing running costs will be met.

– A full itinerary of your proposed travel; including museums and other relevant places of interest which you intend to visit .”

I do understand that given the fact that I am basically asking for a lot of money they need to double and triple check who is getting it and what for – but those are things that are kinda hard to prove – it is still early days after all and I have been in talks with various people, organisations and institutions in regards to “what next”.

Large Kakahu with Taniko Border and remnants of Kuri fur on some parts
Large Kakahu with Taniko Border and remnants of Kuri fur on some parts

Does it count that I happened to work as a Database Manager in the past? Not sure… Does it count that I have been a full-time weaver for the past 7 years? Again not sure… Perhaps the fact that I am German native speaker and do understand the subject matter did not get through to them in my original application…or perhaps because I already started the project completely self funded that they think no more money need to be spent there – my fault entirely for not making this more clear and getting all the info they want.

So now I know what is required and will try my utmost to find relevant references/proof  – and hope for the best.

The other side of this  is my funding page with Give a Little which did attract quite a few views but hardly any donations (and all of those interestingly from friends overseas… go figure). Here I think the reasons are different. This is where the Perception comes in.

Looking through all the noteworthy causes on that site I noticed that firstly – people who suddenly suffer from a bad or indeed incurable illness or sudden loss of a family member do get plenty of donations. Now I am not in any way suggesting that they are not worthy causes – quite the opposite! I have donated to many of these causes myself over the years and feel very strongly for those people.

Piupiu Muka with remnants of feathers
Piupiu Muka with remnants of feathers

However – there are those other cases that also attract a lot of interest that in my eyes maybe could have been avoided (with having proper insurance or common sense before making a certain move/decision etc) – not withholding their merits and neediness at any given time. But perhaps they are  perceived to be more dramatic and in need of help than someone like me – who’s “just” trying to get over to Europe to do some obscure research that may or may not interest a minority of people (e.g. Maori weavers and perhaps Maori scholars to start with).

In addition I am not some cute ballet dancer (there are many on Give a Little who also need to go to Europe to study) or a pet that needs surgery (I know exactly how that feels not to have the money for that). All the causes have their reasons and should hopefully meet their goals – but it just seems that what I try to achieve with my fund-raising page is just not as interesting or needed in most people’s eyes.

There is not much I can do about that – and after all this is just the beginning – if I achieve even half of what I planned it will raise more questions than it creates answers.

Two Kahu Kiwi
Two Kahu Kiwi

For instance there will be whanau, hapu and iwi out there who may want to trace the ancestry of one of the taonga I intend to study – if I can help with that I’d be very honoured and happy.

History (be it recent or ancient) has always interested me and this is more or less combining that interest with my knowledge of mahi raranga, databases,German language and indeed also photography and a little detective work  to give back to all the people who helped me along the way so far all my life.

So excuse my rant which is born out of a little frustration that I can’t change Perception.

However – thank you again to all the people who have helped me either morally or indeed with forwarding my plea’s and actual donations or offers of help in any other way. You are my heroes right now! THANKS

Oh – and if you knew to my blog – here is again the link to the fund-raising page:-)






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