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Project seeks to preserve stories for posterity

Mon 19 Jul 2010 In: New Zealand Daily News

Work has begun on a new project which aims to capture the many stories of "courage, compassion - and sorrow and loss" since AIDS erupted into the world. The Cartier Bereavement Trust and a small working party want to gather the stories for posterity, saying we are in danger of losing records of hope and courage displayed in the face of ignorance, prejudice and death. The goal is to record the stories of those who either live with HIV or have been touched by it, "perhaps as lovers, friends, parents or siblings of someone who has had the virus". This will be done by filming interviews, which will be made freely available online and may also be made into a documentary. Spokesman for the project's working party Michael Stevens approached Cartier Bereavement Trust Chair Karen Ritchie with the idea and discovered there had already been some discussion about projects the trust could carry out, aside from its main purpose of funding the funerals of those who have lost their lives as a result of HIV-related illnesses. He says the working party wants all sorts of stories. "From people who may have HIV whether they've had it for a year or 20 years. And we'd like to hear stories from people who've been in the care of people of HIV as well - whether they were a lover, a nurse, a friend, a doctor or a volunteer with an organisation." Stevens says all such stories are important, because they tell a part of New Zealand and gay social history that would be easy to lose if it is not held onto. "Remembering people who died is an important thing to do and is part of what the project will do. But also, remembering the living." He says people often underestimate how important the work they did was, but their stories are valuable and need to be told. Stevens says the plan is to have the interviews uploaded to a dedicated website in the next 12 months or so, as a free resource for anyone who wants to use them. He stresses the project is in its pilot stages and will expand as its working party gains more experience. For more information about sharing your story contactKaren Ritchie or Michael Stevens    

Credit: GayNZ.com Daily News staff

First published: Monday, 19th July 2010 - 7:16pm

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