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Ngā Tapuwae May 2010

Ngā Tapuwae - the Footprints - is the newsletter of Archives New Zealand. It tells the stories of our people, our work and achievements.

Please contact Communications Manager Christine Seymour for further information, email

Chief Executive's Greeting

This issue of Ngā Tapuwae features news of the department’s activities in Wellington and the regions and it’s great to see so much going on around the country.
The Future Perfect: Digital Continuity Conference lived up to expectations as the first event of its kind ever held in the southern hemisphere. The conference was opened by the Minister Responsible for Archives New Zealand, Hon Nathan Guy who reminded the audience of the importance of keeping our digital heritage alive and accessible. One thing I took from the conference is that, while preserving digital information still presents big challenges, we have genuinely moved beyond merely identifying the problem, and are now seeing real solutions emerge. As evidence of this it was great to be there for the launch of Phase 2 of the National Library’s National Digital Heritage Archive.
Records and Archives Week was held earlier this month. The theme Industrious Kiwis was strongly supported by exhibitions in our Auckland and Dunedin regional offices. These displays featured material from our holdings that showed the development of several New Zealand industries.
The Archives Council met in our National Office recently. The council has three new members and provides the Minister Responsible for Archives New Zealand with independent advice on archival and government recordkeeping matters. The council meets regularly with Archives New Zealand’s chief executive and staff.

The integration of Archives New Zealand, the National Library of New Zealand and Department of Internal Affairs is progressing well, The chief executives of all three departments are members of the governance group that leads the integration process. The group provides regular updates for stakeholders on the integration website

If you would like to comment on any items in Nga Tapuwae please contact our communications manager Christine Seymour email
Greg Goulding
Acting Chief Executive and Chief Archivist

Audit Update

Archives New Zealand’s audit team continues to make good progress with the implementation of the Public Records Act audit programme.

Richard Hipgrave, Audit Programme Manager, says, "we're on track for commencing our programme in July 2010 as required by the Public Records Act 2005.

"In 2010-2011 - its first year of operation - the team will undertake about 40 audits. The first group of public offices to be audited have received their notification letters from the Chief Archivist. This is new territory for Archives New Zealand and the team is focused on ensuring that things work smoothly from day one,” Richard says.

"To achieve this goal our audit implementation plan requires the key components of the programme to be quality assured. These components include:
• the auditing standards and procedures describing how audits are to be conducted
• the audit data gathering logic
• the self-assessment software used to gather and analyse data
• the audit engagement and auditor competency.

"The review of auditing standards and procedures received a favourable independent quality assurance review last month.

"A review of the data gathering logic is under way, and next month we will be working with a small group of public offices who will help us by undertaking user acceptance tests of the self-assessment software.

“This means that when we engage with our first audit clients in July they can be confident that their audits will be efficient, follow good practice and be conducted to high professional standards,” Richard said.

Complex AG40 files made more accessible

The usability of one of Archives New Zealand’s most complex record series, AG40 (Agriculture Series 40) has been transformed thanks to an “archival intervention” led by archivist, Kyle Leota.
Kyle (pictured above) explains, “the Agriculture Series records group is enormous, and AG40 is the biggest series in it.

“The records in AG40 were transferred at various times from the 1960s to the 1980s by the Department of Agriculture and its successor agency, the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries.

“During the 1980s the AG40 series was created under a new system of archival management. 

“Unfortunately, a lack of resources meant the listing and arrangement of AG40 was unable to be completed. This created a slew of problems, and the record series became practically impossible to use.

“The Agriculture record group needed to be fully converted into the current archival management system to make it accessible. This was a complex task as the records needed to be intellectually listed (descriptive information, access restrictions) and physically (re-boxed, and at times relocated) rearranged.

“The project started in April 2009 and as at 3 May 2010, 16,846 files have been listed (described) and made available through Archives’ online search engine, Archway; and 14,547 files re-boxed. Of these, 10,483 belong to AG40.

“We are planning to have AG40 completed by the end of May, and the whole record group by the end of June.

“The outcome of this project will be a more complete description of the country’s agricultural records. Going back to the 1880s, this record group tells a lot about how New Zealand has developed economically,” says Kyle. 

The AG40 series is made up of the records from the main filing system of the Department of Agriculture/Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries.

The records within the series include agricultural and fisheries policy, legislation and regulation, export standards, agricultural and horticultural experimentation, and issues regarding market access for New Zealand agricultural and dairy produce, to name a few. 

Kyle says, “for example, the series holds records that document negotiations with the British and European Economic Community on market quotas for New Zealand butter and meat produce in the 1970s. 

“As the accessibility issues surrounding the Agricultural Series become a thing of the past we anticipate greater user interest in this rich source of information,” said Kyle.

Context Control Manager, Greg Jennings said, “this was on of the most complex arrangement and description task I’ve seen in a very long time. Kyle has done a great job.”

Looking towards a perfect future for digital continuity and preservation

Future Perfect: the first digital continuity conference in the southern hemisphere was held in Wellington on 3-5 May. 

Capacity numbers attended the digital preservation training workshops on day one; with impressive and informative presentations and interaction at the conference proper on day two; and stimulating discussion and greater awareness of the issues at the BarCamp (un-conference sessions) on day three.

The conference was a direct result of the government’s Digital Continuity Action Plan and contributed significantly to the plan’s goal of raising understanding of digital continuity.

Archives New Zealand was instrumental in coordinating the three-day event that brought together a wide range of people from recordkeeping, information management and IT services within the New Zealand and Australian public sectors.

Participants were eager to learn more about digital continuity and preservation and share their own knowledge and experiences. Many have said they would like more workshops and training sessions, as a result.

The Minister Responsible for Archives New Zealand Hon Nathan Guy officially opened the conference. He explained the importance of digital continuity to New Zealand and in particular the government. He said three-quarters of New Zealand public sector agencies can no longer access some of their records. This can be caused by obsolete storage media, or unreadable software or hardware.

“Public records deal with major issues, having an impact on society, the economy and people's lives. It's not good for the transparency and accountability of government, or the health of our democracy, if we lose important public records.

“We need to stop important public records being lost and to make sure they are accessible when required. If we lose information about ourselves then we are all the poorer. “

The Minister thanked Archives New Zealand and the conference committee from Statistics New Zealand, Te Papa, the Department of Internal Affairs, the National Library and Wellington's Victoria University. He also acknowledged the conference sponsors; Archives New Zealand, the National Library of New Zealand, the State Services Commission and ExLibris.

The Minister’s speech is on:

Above from left: Connie Christensen, David Gemmell and Seamus Ross.
Keynote speakers

Participants were reminded of the importance of maintaining databases and ensuring digital repositories were functioning properly.

In his keynote address, Dr Seamus Ross, Dean and Professor, Faculty of Information, Toronto University said New Zealand needs to maintain the value of digitisation.

He said it was important to plan the management and care of digital material and maintain databases to keep the material accessible. 

“Digital preservation is a personal activity, for example the loss of photographs is a loss of personal heritage. He said there was a need for more research and collaboration by a wide range of people.
“Digital repositories allow New Zealand to reach out to the rest of the world,” he said.

Dr Andreas Rauber, Associate Professor, Vienna University, Austria, focused on the needs of smaller institutions to tackle the preservation and management of digital information.
He said that many digital preservation activities occur in large institutions, such as, national libraries, archives, museums, where dedicated preservation groups and departments have much in-house expertise.
“Everyone is affected by digital preservation – smaller institutions and enterprises – all of us. We need to provide digital preservation solutions to meet their needs and make sure digital information is available for the future,” he said.
Brief taster presentations on the Tuesday morning led to more in-depth sessions by New Zealand and Austrailan agencies.
Keynote addresses and presentations from the conference and details of the BarCamp sessions will be on the conference website later this month

Above from left: Jennie Henton, Andreas Rauber, Julia Harris and Lois Robertson.
Below from left: Cassandra Findlay, Derek Rayner and Evelyn Wareham.
Conference feedback
Jeni Wie digital assets coordinator for audio collections and Susan Emson digital archive manager Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders Studies (AIATSIS) wanted to hear more about digital continuity and preservation and to talk to people in New Zealand.
Susan said she was encouraged that others were facing similar problems and issues and looking for answers.
Lois Robertson (Archives New Zealand Dunedin) said the conference had a great “buzz” as people exchanged ideas and shared views, and that attendance was beneficial for keeping in touch with developments in digital preservation. The highlight was the digital preservation masterclass with Andreas Rauber on day one.
"It was very hands-on with four exercises to complete the development of a Preservation Plan covering the full planning and preservation cycle," she said.
Above: Susan Emson and Jeni Wie from Australian Institute of Aboriginal and
Torres Strait Islanders Studies (AIATSIS), at the BarCamp.

From left: Nat Torkington, Stephen Clarke and Mike Chapman.


Phase 2 of NDHA

The National Library launched phase 2 of the National Digital Heritage Archive’s (NDHA) at the Future Perfect conference in Wellington on 4 May.
The Minister Responsible for the National Library and Archives New Zealand, Hon Nathan Guy made the announcement at the conference,
Pictured at the launch of NDHA Phase 2, from left to right: Greg Goulding, Acting Chief Executive Archives New Zealand, Penny Carnaby Chief Librarian, National Library of New Zealand, Hon Nathan Guy, Minister Responsible for Archives New Zealand and Oded Scharfstein representative from ExLibris.
The NDHA serves as the nation's storehouse for digital materials, websites, CDs, DVDs, images and digitised copies of print and audiovisual assets that make up the National Library’s digital heritage collection. It will ensure that our digital heritage will be accessible years after the original technologies have become obsolete and that our country's digital memory is preserved.
The NDHA secures the integrity, authenticity and therefore trustworthiness of digital material deposited with the National Library.
It means that our school children, researchers, businesses and communities will continue to be able to delve into, and learn about, all aspects of New Zealand’s life and culture now and in the future.
Looking ahead, given that most of New Zealand’s government information is increasingly digital, there are opportunities for other state agencies to leverage from the NDHA.

Soldiering On Back Home….

Soldiering On Back Home: The Rehabilitation of Returned Soldiers and Their Return to Industry, is an exhibition running from 19 April to 28 May at Archives New Zealand’s Dunedin Regional Office.
The exhibition combines two themes, ANZAC Day commemoration and the Archives and Records Association of New Zealand (ARANZ) Records & Archives Week theme of Industrious Kiwis: Archives and Industry. It focuses on the retraining of soldiers and how the efforts and skills of rehabilitated servicemen assisted in the development and prosperity of New Zealand.
The displays comprise film footage from the National Film Unit, photographs from the National Publicity Studios, combined with rarely seen archives from the Dunedin Regional Office, which have been selected from the State Advances Corporation, Lands and Survey, Post Office, Public Works, and other departments, illustrating assistance given and work carried out. It also draws attention to the role of the New Zealand Returned Services and Association in finding and assisting the returned servicemen into employment and back into everyday life.

Mignon Pickwell viewing a section of photographs, taken by the National Publicity Studios, depicting recently rehabilitated returned servicemen active in their new roles.

Listing gold mining archives

Six volunteers from the New Zealand Society of Genealogists, Dunedin Branch are listing information from gold mining archives for both the Lawrence and Roxburgh Wardens Courts from c1864 onwards at Archives New Zealand’s Dunedin Regional Office.
They are recording the names of applicants and the date and type of application, for example, whether it is for a water race or an extended claim. At present, this information is hard to find, but eventually it will be available on Archway making it easier to find the records of miners in Central Otago.

The team includes Pru Turnbull, Eleanor Leckie, Denise Shirley, Ailsa Cornelius and Wendy Middlemiss who have all been involved in indexing and transcribing of many other old Dunedin records. Eleanor, the most experienced of the group, frequently recognises names that crop up and is able to piece together information about people, events and places. The volunteers are retired professionals and enjoy using their academic skills. They have personal connections with Central Otago and find the work rewarding. Pru, who has two great grandfathers known to have been gold mining in Central Otago in the 1860s, says she feels a special connection to the listing work they are doing.
Regarding the listing process, Pru says that the checking is most important, and they work mainly in pairs, for about three hours at a time. “When you first arrive, you check the work of the people in front of you to see if you agree with their transcription of the words, and look for typos and omissions. Mostly the handwriting is quite readable for those who learnt and used cursive script in their school days,” she says.


Volunteers Ailsa Cornelius (left) Denise Shirley (right) listing gold mining archives at the Dunedin Office.

Finding and delivering archives faster

People want information fast these days. They want specific information that meets their research needs at the strike of a key or click of a mouse. Archives New Zealand is continually improving systems so people can speedily locate and retrieve from government archives the information they need.
As more archives than ever before are digital or digitised, in-house workshops provide opportunities for exchanging ideas and upskilling archivists.
Greg Jennings, Archives New Zealand’s Context and Control Unit Manager told archivists about developments currently underway to the department’s online catalogue, Archway, at a recent workshop held in the department’s Dunedin Regional Office.
These back-of-house changes to the information put into Archway will provide clearer pathways for searching and discovery of archives. Greg also discussed options being explored for further developments which will enhance people’s ability to find information in more intuitive ways.

Greg Jennings (standing) explains the fundamentals of the system architecture underpinning Archway.

New Archives Council

The Minister Responsible for Archives New Zealand Hon Nathan Guy has announced the appointment of three new members to the Archives Council Te Rua Wānanga.
Pictured: Standing, from left: Acting Chief Executive Archives New Zealand Greg Goulding, Stuart Strachan, Mel Smith and Barrie Holdaway. Seated from left: Dame Anne Salmond, Hon Nathan Guy and Richard Nottage. Absent Ani Pahuru-Huriwai and George Reedy.

The Council has a statutory role to provide the Minister with independent advice on archives and recordkeeping issues.

"These new members bring a range of useful skills and experience to the Council," said Mr Guy.

"The recently announced integration of Archives New Zealand with the Department of Internal Affairs will not change the major roles and functions of either agency, and I look forward to continuing to receive advice from the Council." 

Dame Anne Salmond is a well known author and Distinguished Professor of Anthropology and Maori Studies at the University of Auckland.
Barry Holdaway is a local guide and historian with an agricultural background.

George Reedy is a chartered accountant with an MBA and interest in Maori business development.
Existing Council members Richard Nottage CNZM (Chair), Ani Pahuru-Huriwai, Mel Smith CNZM and Stuart Strachan QSO have been reappointed for a further three year term.

Council members have considerable experience in recordkeeping, information management and specialist knowledge - including tikanga Māori.

"I thank the previous members for their service and look forward to the input of the new Council. They have an important role to play in continuing the good work of Archives New Zealand," the Minister said.

The new Archives Council met for the first time with a successful day in Archives New Zealand's Wellington office on Tuesday 20 April.

The riches of MA1 made accessible through detailed listing

A project to list the archival treasures of Māori Affairs Series One (MA1) to item level has been completed; resulting in greater accessibility to one of Archives New Zealand’s most used record group series.
Wellington office archivist, Wendy Harnett says, “the series contains the correspondence between the government and iwi in the 19th and early 20th centuries. This is a very personal set of records. About 80 percent of the letters are on issues of land, such as petitions, sale and lease, and the other 20 percent are pleas for help.
“I was surprised to find how hands-on the Native Affairs Department was. At a time where there was no government welfare or pension systems, people wrote to the department for assistance and they actually did help them.
“The content of these letters makes them extraordinarily valuable in piecing together the social history of our nation (for example, the loss of land, socio-economic conditions and disease epidemics.
“Until now the accessibility of this rich source of information was limited. When these records came to Archives in the 1950-60s it was acceptable to have them listed at box range level only. Researchers were expected to spend days or weeks searching indexes and registers to find the correspondence they were looking for.
“One problem was that readers would request a file, but we didn’t know if the file was extant (had survived) until we physically checked the box.
“This is now a thing of the past as only what we hold is listed. The detail to which they are now listed (such as the name of the letter writer, summary of the subject matter, date received) also means keyword searching will be much more effective,” Wendy said.
It took nearly a year for part-time staff Amy Donald and Michael Molloy to complete the detailed listing, and in that time 11,850 items were documented.
MA1 will soon be available on Archives New Zealand’s online search engine, Archway.

Auckland gets RAW

A celebration of archives and industry, the Records and Archives Week (1-7 May) 2010 theme of Industrious Kiwis inspired an exhibition at the Archives New Zealand Auckland regional office.
From whales to wine the changing face of New Zealand industry, focused on how archives show the development of four New Zealand industries over time. The exhibition was on display at Archives New Zealand’s Auckland office from 26 April to 21 May.
Auckland office archivist, Wendy Goldsmith said, “our exhibition was centred on whaling (catching and killing, to whale-watching), transport (trams and trolley buses, to motorways), gold mining (693 stamper heads in Thames, to environmental impact reports), and winemaking (home consumption, to quality export).”
One of the documents in the display is an image of the Van Gelder’s Duplex Air Aspirating Grinder with Cyclone and Turbular Dust Collector. Wendy says, “this fantastically named machine, used for crushing gold ore, must have been a great improvement to the deafening stamper batteries of the 19th century.
“We have found our material in Customs records, company registration files, Wardens Courts records, Māori Affairs files, Department of Conservation files, and Mining Inspectorate records, among others,” said Wendy.

War time records online

The military personnel files of the first New Zealanders to serve in overseas conflict can be viewed on Archives New Zealand’s website.

The records of the first and second contingents of New Zealand Mounted Rifles who served in the South African War (1899-1902) have been digitised and are accessible through Archway, Archives New Zealand’s online search engine The details of all 10 contingents who served in the South African War will be online by 2011.

The files include details of the first New Zealander to be killed in overseas conflict. Private George Roland Bradford from the First Contingent, NZMR died on December 28 1899 from wounds received in a clash near Arundel, South Africa, 10 days earlier.
Born in Sussex, England in 1870 Bradford served in the Grenadier Guards before immigrating to New Zealand in 1895. He settled near Paeroa where he worked as a labourer and served as Battalion Sergeant Major in the local Volunteer unit, the Ohinemuri Rifles. In 1899 he resigned from the volunteers and enlisted with No 1 Company, First Contingent, New Zealand Mounted Rifles.

The First Contingent of NZMR departed left Wellington for South Africa on 21 October 1899. The troops arrived in South Africa on 23 November 1899 and fought alongside other forces from Great Britain. Historical accounts report the New Zealanders excelled in action gaining recognition for their bravery. This included a gallant bayonet charge during an advance on Colesburg in January 1900 which added a new place name - New Zealand Hill to the locality.

The New Zealanders were the first to relieve Kimberley on 16-17 February 1900; on 21 February they were part of the First Cavalry Brigade which moved out after Cronje’s retreating Boer army. They also took part in battles at Driefontein (March 10), Koornspruit (March 31), the fall of Johnanesburg (May 29), the fall of Pretoria (June 5), the relief of Baden-Powell at Rustenburg (August 5), the occupation of Barberton (September 15) and the battle of Rhenoster Kop (November 29) where six were killed and 21 wounded.

Later in the war NZMR contingents were involved in battles against the Boer generals De La Rey, Botha and De Wet in the Transvaal and Orange Free State. The Boers signed the conditions of surrender on May 31 1902.

Lieutenant Robert McKeich (9th Contingent NZMR) was the last New Zealand casualty of the South African War. He was killed while game shooting on June 4 1902 by Boers who where unaware of the final surrender.
In all, 10 contingents totalling some 6500 men and 8000 horses were sent from New Zealand. New contingents were progressively raised to relieve those in the field. Each had different experiences, depending on the date of their arrival and most saw considerable action.
New Zealand’s losses during the war included 69 killed, 190 wounded and 136 who died from disease.
The South African War records are part of the New Zealand Defence Force personnel files that Archives New Zealand is digitising and making available on its website. Files from World War One are also being digitised with over 6000 currently accessible online and many more to come.
Above: Second Contingent NZMR marching through the streets of Wellington c 1900.
National Archives Ref: PC4 17/00/8


Wills and probate digitisation project

The contract has been signed, the volunteers are in, and the wills and probates digitisation project is set to start.
At the end of last month (April 2010), Archives New Zealand’s Acting Chief Executive Greg Goulding signed the contract with FamilySearch to digitise Archives’ wills and probates (estate documents that go with wills) records.
This digitisation will be completed by FamilySearch volunteers Lupe Pulu and Marlene Van Cleave from the USA, and Roy and Lorraine Ditchburn from New Zealand.
Project Manager, Sarah McClintock says, “through digitisation (making electronic copies of documents and uploading them onto Archives’ online search engine, Archway) the accessibility of this rich source of information will be greatly increased.
“There are 300,000 probates in our Wellington office alone, with the earliest record from the 1840s. The other benefit of digitisation is that delicate records such as those early probates will no longer have to handled, and so will be better preserved,” said Sarah.
This is a department-wide project, with the wills and probates files held in the Auckland, Christchurch and Dunedin offices set to be completed also. The project is expected to take five years to complete.
Above: Greg Goulding Acting Chief Executive, Archives New Zealand and Mike Higgins  the Support Manager, FamilySearch Asia-Pacific region sign the contract for the probate digitisation project.

News Bytes

The Archives New Zealand Library has put a selection of privacy related books on display, including:
• Sharing, privacy and trust in our networked world: a report to the OCLC membership. (302.231 SHA) Also available online at,0
• Privacy at work: a guide to the Privacy Act for employers and employees / Privacy Commissioner. (342.93 PRI) Also available online at
Archives TV on Ziln: The Archives New Zealand TV channel on New Zealand’s internet television network, Ziln is becoming increasingly popular. The channel contains Pictorial Parade and Weekly Review newsreels from 1940 to 1965, with a reported 22,373 viewings of films from 17-27 April. bringing together content from blogs about archives and by archivists into one resource, Archivesblog holds information of personal stories, on-the-job discoveries, and archive-related events happening around the globe. To check it out, go to
Leading Cases Conference (24-26 June 2010): The Victoria University Faculty of Law is hosting a two-day legal history symposium which will have speakers discussing a selection of leading New Zealand cases from the 19th and early 20th centuries. Many of these cases are unknown and represent key moments in the development of our legal history and jurisprudence.
For more information on the conference contact Shaunnagh Dorsett at, or to register online, go to
Heritage Month: Heritage and Our Environment (June 2010) the Wellington Region Heritage Promotion Council, Heritage Month aims to promote and encourage the preservation of the region’s heritage during this year’s Heritage month.
For more information on Heritage Month and the programme of events, go to:
Information Technologies and Indigenous Communities (13-15 July 2010): Organised by the Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander (AIATSIS) the conference will explore the use of information technologies to access, create and collate invaluable cultural information and heritage. For more information and to register, go to:
Top 150 – Documenting Queensland: An online exhibition by the Queensland State Archives of Australia. Check it out at:
The New Zealand Film Archive - It’s a Sellebration: View classic Kiwi ads from 1970 to 1990 at the New Zealand Film Archive website.
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