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Ngā Tapuwae March 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 christine.seymour@archives.govt.nz
 
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Greetings from the Chief Executive

 
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Kia ora katoa
 
Welcome to the first external issue of Ngā Tapuwae for 2010.
 
Each issue of Ngā Tapuwae tells the stories of the people who work here in Archives New Zealand and the services we provide to a range of customers. I am sure you will enjoy reading about our activities.
 
In this issue we have news about New Zealand’s first conference on digital continuity, being organised by Archives New Zealand and held in Wellington in May. We also look at what’s happening in the Auckland regional office with special mention of two staff who have celebrated 30 years with the department.
 
Those of you who have visited our Wellington National office recently will have noticed the redevelopment of the public areas on the ground floor. I am delighted to tell you the major refurbishment has been completed, and the new Gateway information space is now officially opened. Read more about the new improved customer services in this newsletter.
 
As with all good channels of communications, we welcome your feedback and thoughts on any items that you would like to read about. Please contact our communications manager Christine Seymour email Christine.seymour@archives.govt.nz.
 
Happy reading
 
Greg Goulding
Acting Chief Executive and Chief Archivist
 

The Gateway now officially opened

 
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The new Gateway information space, a revamped reading room and new readers’ lounge feature in the refurbished ground floor public area at Archives New Zealand’s National Office in Wellington.
The office has undergone a significant makeover in recent months to improve customer service and accessibility to archives holdings.
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At the Gateway’s official opening on 24 March the Minister Responsible for Archives New Zealand Hon Nathan Guy congratulated the department for creating the fresh new customer space within budget and on time. “This is a proud moment for the archives community,” he said.
 
The Minister said in a short timeframe, with work beginning in September last year, the department had improved customer service to the nation’s treasures and the archives in its holdings.
 
The major work was completed in three months and throughout this time the Reading Room remained open, representing Archives New Zealand’s commitment to customers.
 
The changes have also provided a platform to launch the shared service delivery between Archives New Zealand and the National Library of New Zealand, and particularly the Alexander Turnbull Library.
 
While the National Library building is closed for redevelopment visitors can view some of the key collections in Archives New Zealand’s Wellington office; these include Alexander Turnbull Library manuscripts, rare books, oral histories and photographs, plus the National Library’s research collection of pre-1940 children’s books.
 
The Minister said he was delighted to hear the joint service to the public being provided by Archives New Zealand and the National Library/Alexander Turnbull Library went live on February 25 without a hitch.
 
This is a successful collaboration by public agencies providing valuable customer service to the wider community.
 
He congratulated Archives New Zealand, the National Library and the Alexander Turnbull Library staff for a job well done.
View the Minister's speech on the Beehive website http://www.beehive.govt.nz/minister/nathan+guy?type=speech.
 
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Archives New Zealand Acting Chief Executive Greg Goulding thanked the Minister for opening the Gateway. He said the Gateway and other revamped areas would greatly help the department provide an improved efficient and accessible service to all its customers.
 
He said the Alexander Turnbull Library had shown trust in Archives New Zealand to look after important materials from their collection while the National Library undergoes refurbishment. “With library staff working alongside our staff, we are learning more about each others’ holdings and are already benefiting from this experience,” he said.
 
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Alexander Turnbull Library Chief Librarian Chris Szeleky said it was good to be at Archives New Zealand’s. He said he wanted to make sure the Turnbull collection was housed safely and was still accessible while the National Library was closed.
 
He said Archives New Zealand has outfitted a superb repository to house the library’s treasured collection. This will ensure these rare books, manuscripts and photographs are available to public during the library’s refurbishment.
 
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Archives New Zealand Regional and Access Services Manager Alicia Wright said the opening of the new facilities was the start of a journey. “A year ago we looked at how we could provide a better service to our customers and help them find our treasures. The Gateway and Reading Room areas have now come alive thanks to everyone who has been involved in the development.”
 
She said both Archives New Zealand and Alexander Turnbull Library have learned each other’s systems and procedures and developed ways of working together to make it easier for customers to get what they want. Even in the short time the department and the library have been sharing services, readers coming to the one location have been able to access documents from both collections increasing their customer experience.”
 
 
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Gateway first port of call
The brand new Gateway is the first port of call for visitors to the Archives New Zealand Wellington office. Customers begin the journey into the archive and can find out about their own families and ancestors; how the nation was founded; and how we have grown and matured as a country.
 
Archives New Zealand’s extensive government records date back to the 1800s and include New Zealand’s founding document Te Tiriti o Waitangi; thousands of public records, maps, plans, artworks, photographs, film and sound recordings totalling some 93 kilometres.
 
Valuable Land Information New Zealand records are now housed in a purpose-built registrar room on the ground floor. The records, more than 1,500 in total, came to Archives New Zealand at the end of November last year. They include Crown Grants and original deeds records for the Wellington and Hawke’s Bay land districts. Of historical significance the records are core to who we are as a people today and are also beautiful to look at.
 
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Included in the new space is a readers’ lounge where researchers can take a break and have their lunch, and an audio visual area (pictured above) where people can tune into stories of the past through the National Film Unit collection.
 

World focus for New Zealand's first Digital Continuity Conference

 
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The confirmation of Dr Seamus Ross, digital preservation expert from Canada, as a keynote speaker is the icing on the cake for the Future Perfect Digital Continuity Conference to be held on 3 to 5 May, in Wellington.
 
Archives New Zealand is organising the conference which is dedicated to the theme of digital continuity, preservation and long-term public sector information issues. It is believed to be the first conference dedicated to these topics to be held in the southern hemisphere.
 
Stephen Clarke, Senior Adviser Digital Continuity team at Archives New Zealand, is convenor of the organising committee of the three-day event. He says “Dr Seamus Ross’s attendance means we will have three of the biggest names in digital information participating in the conference. The other two are Andreas Rauber, Associate Professor from Austria and Steve Bailey from the United Kingdom.”
 
The three-day conference has three elements to its programme: training workshops, the conference proper and an un-conference day or BarCamp.
 
The workshops will be held at Archives New Zealand’s Wellington office on day one. Dr Ross will lead the first workshop - an introduction into digital continuity, focussing on the core concepts and issues of digital preservation. This course is intended for people who know little about the topics and there is no technical knowledge required.
 
Dr Rauber will run the second workshop - a Master class on Digital Preservation, suited for practitioners and experts, and the 15 places on this course have already sold out.
 
The conference proper on day two will be opened by the Minister Responsible for Archives New Zealand, Hon Nathan Guy. The programme includes presentations from the keynote speakers and a series of short presentations to whet the appetite for the range of longer streamed topics later in the day.
 
The BarCamp on day three will provide ample opportunity to discuss and develop responses to issues raised on the first two days.
 
Stephen says the conference aims to raise awareness of digital continuity and is a focal point for the development of continuity practice in New Zealand, as well as to foster and develop the skills and deeper understanding of digital preservation in general.
 
Registrations for the conference are open and spaces on the training sessions are filling fast, says Stephen. Further information is on the conference website: http://bit.ly/6a59YE.
 

Auckland office well settled

 
Two and-a-half years on from its Prime Ministerial opening Archives New Zealand’s Auckland repository is coming of age with staff, volunteers and customers well settled and trees and shrubs growing aplenty around the building.
 
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No longer set in a green field area where the first sod was turned on a cold, blustery day, the purpose-built archive stands amongst other large buildings in the Airpark complex, at 95 Richard Pearse Drive, Mangere.
 
With plenty of parking, a reader’s lounge and tasteful surroundings it’s a friendly place to visit. Staff agree the climately controlled repository and modern facilities are a great step-up from the poor conditions in the previous building located on Mt Wellington Highway.
 
Auckland Regional Archivist Mark Soddart says visitors have posted favourable remarks in the comments box with many saying they appreciate the restful atmosphere for research.
 
“They appreciate having a lunch room and a place of their own to take a break and have a cup of tea,” he says.
 
Visitors to the reading room include Treaty of Waitangi claimants, those wanting to find out more about Māori land succession and genealogists looking for family information.
 
More recently a new group is finding its way to the archive. These are people from Australia, who may have lived in New Zealand or those born in Australia who want to find out about New Zealanders in their families.
 
“They find out about us through Archway,” said Archivist Stephanie van Gaalen, “and pop in here on their way to or from the airport. They are particularly interested in probates.”
 
Other popular items include Auckland’s early regional records which returned to safekeeping in the new repository in 2008. These records include the Auckland Provincial Government (1853-1876), Agent for the General Government Auckland (1865-1878) and the Northern Military District, Auckland (1868-1974).
 
New to the collection is Land Information New Zealand material from Gisborne which dates back to the 1870s. Currently this is being re-boxed and documented and will be available to the public in about October the year. New shelving is going up to accommodate the large volumes in this collection.

A special anniversary for a special couple

 
February 2010 saw a special celebration for two Auckland staff members, with Auckland Regional Archivist Mark Stoddart celebrating his 31 year anniversary with Archives New Zealand and Archivist Ruth Stoddart celebrating her 30 year anniversary.
 
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Above, Mark and Ruth show off their anniversary gifts from Archives New Zealand.
 
For the couple the highlights over the years are both professional and personal as they met at the department and got married within three years. The pair have raised two boys and successfully worked together in the same office, although this could be because Ruth works for Context Control and reports to a different boss.

 
Early in their careers the pair spent a year in Sydney doing the Diploma in Information Management at the University of New South Wales sponsored by the department. Both were jointly involved in surveys of Canterbury regional archives and the Hawke’s Bay Area Health Board records.

Mark was Reference Archivist in Wellington from 1983 to1986 before being promoted in 1986 to Regional Archivist in Auckland. He was responsible for moves from the old archives building in Hardinge St, Auckland City out to Mt Wellington Highway in 1993/4, with a 10-month stopover in a Mt Roskill warehouse, as well as the move in 2007 to the current purpose-built archive at the airport site on Richard Pearse Drive, Mangere. He was involved in the planning for the Mt Wellington building and wrote the brief for the current repository.
 
For Mark other highlights include participating in conferences in Hobart, Melbourne and Vienna as well as “a wonderful Strategic Management Group visit to the East Cape with the Māori Consultative Group, Te Pae Whakawairua”. He has enjoyed working with the two other regional archivists, in Dunedin and Christchurch, on things such as the competency training, and being involved in projects including the shipping list digitisation.

Ruth's highlights include working as the manager of the Auckland branch of the Records Management Branch of National Archives from 1987-1993, being anchor tutor for the Auckland years of the Wairarapa archives course in 1993, for 18 years running local government training in how to look after archives, single handily auditing the Electronic List Management System, a forerunner to the Archway listing project and being a national auditor for Archway, Archives New Zealand’s online finding aid.
 
“Archives New Zealand has been a constant presence in the life of our family,” says Ruth. “I am profoundly grateful for the security and flexibility it has provided, although sometimes I do wish for a change of subject.”
 

Work is fun for Auckland volunteers

 
Having ‘great fun’ and seeing the ‘years fly by’ keeps the volunteers at Archives New Zealand’s Auckland repository coming back for more.
 
Nine volunteers work regularly in the office every Wednesday and Thursday, with some clocking up over 20 years service. Such is their dedication, that some volunteers even take work to do at home.
 
Many travel long distances to get to 95 Richard Pearse Drive, Mangere, and a couple, Marion Clapperton and Nancy Buckman, who hail from Bucklands Beach take the opportunity to carpool.
 
All are dedicated to the job with many being genealogists who enjoy providing information which helps others in their search for family history. They occasionally find information about their own families which is a bonus.
 
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Pictured above from left to right are volunteers, Noeleen Sutton, from Botany Bay, Shirley Ellison, Epsom, Lois Steward, Howick and Marion Clapperton, Bucklands Beach. Both Noeleen and Lois have volunteered for 15 years with Shirley and Marion both on eight-and-a-half years.
 
Currently Noeleen is indexing Hamilton and Auckland Education Board school teachers’ records from the 1920s to 1980s and when this is completed the records will be available on Archway, the department’s online finding aid. Marion is working on Auckland Education Board school class lists from 1881 and Shirley is busy tackling the Warden’s Court Licences from Coromandel from the 1870s to 1900s. Lois is on quality control, checking all the entries.
 
The foursome is on deck like clockwork every Thursday and the gales of laughter coming from the Arrangement and Description room is the evidence.

 

Waikato region revealed

 
A recent addition to the Auckland office collection is a set of Lands and Survey maps which came in late last year from Waikato University Library.
 
Archivist Wendy Goldsmith says the collection is small, in excellent condition and will be of interest to people as they show land blocks in the Waikato area extending north from Rotorua to the Coromandel and east to west from Tauranga to Raglan.
 
“We are not sure why the collection ended up at the university, but it may have been used for teaching purposes,” Wendy says. “The maps are colourful, were mostly drawn in the 1920s and 1930s and use Mt Eden as a reference point.
 
“They will be useful for people looking into the ownership of land blocks and especially where they cover towns and built-up areas.”
 
Wendy says Waikato University called and offered up the collection. “They know what we do as many university library and administration staff attend our forums. It’s good to have this relationship with them.”
 
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Pictured above, with one of the maps Archivist Wendy Goldsmith, left, and Janine Leighton who listed all the documents for Archway.
 

Checking out family history

 
 
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Aucklander Jack Ruri (right) checks out Archway listings for information about his great-grandfather Turoa Royal’s gift of land for Te Puru School, north of Thames, during a visit to the Archives New Zealand Auckland office. Jack says others were involved in the gift but his great-grandfather was the major shareholder and he is keen to find out more about the transaction. Assisting Jack with his search is Archivist Sarah Mathieson (left).
 

LINZ records available at Archives New Zealand

 
High-use historical paper records from Land Information New Zealand’s (LINZ) have a new home in Archives New Zealand’s Wellington Office.
 
The records were moved from Land Information New Zealand’s (LINZ) Wellington Processing Centre to ensure the long-term preservation of these historical documents and enable public access to them. It coincides with the centre’s closure in April 2010.
 
These land records are some of the oldest in New Zealand, and include Crown Grants and the original Deeds records for the Wellington Hawke’s Bay District. Many are handwritten and have drawings of land blocks, and date back to when people first settled in Wellington.
 
Archives New Zealand’s Arrangement and Description Manager, Margaret Parbhu said, “we’ve developed an individual Register Room for the transferred LINZ records just off our Reading Room, so that the records previously available at the Processing Centre remain accessible to the public.
 
“Archives have received records from LINZ before, what is different this time is that because these records are still in use they needed to be readily available to our users.
 
“Over the next year all of Archives New Zealand’s regional offices will receive LINZ historical land records that are relevant to their districts that LINZ wish to transfer. LINZ are keeping Processing Centres in Hamilton and Christchurch for access to their heavily used current records,” explains Margaret.
 
Lists of land records that have recently been transferred to Archives New Zealand are being made available on our online search engine, Archway http://archway.archives.govt.nz/.
 

Audit partners show enthusiasm

 
With the audits of public offices beginning later this year, the Archives New Zealand Audit Team has been busy working with partner organisations who are supporting the department by participating in user-acceptance testing of the self-assessment tool; and providing feedback about their experience as an audit client.
 
Partners range from small policy organisations to large agencies that manage complex operations with a huge asset base.
 
The partner agencies have been enthusiastic and our team has been well-received, says Richard Hipgrave, Manager of the Audit Team.
 
“The next challenge for the audit programme is to build audit capacity,” says Richard. “We will be looking to integrate audit agents into our work programme planning. This will allow us to conduct the maximum number of audits each year within the programme’s funding envelope.”
 

A leader in recordkeeping in the Pacific

 
Archives New Zealand helps in the drive for good recordkeeping practices in the Pacific region through staff who serve on the Pacific Regional Branch International Council on Archives (PARBICA) governance Bureau.
 
Appraisal adviser Mark Crookston is the Bureau’s current Secretary-General. He replaces Digital Continuity Manager Evelyn Wareham (Immediate Past Secretary-General) who held this post for eight years. In addition to this, the department’s former Chief Archivist and Chief Executive Dianne Macaskill is Vice-President.

The PARBICA membership consists of countries in the Pacific region and works collaboratively to establish a model of standards and processes for recordkeeping across the region.

As Secretary-General Mark manages the Bureau, organises and facilitates professional development activities such as conferences and workshops, and provides advocacy for Pacific archives and recordkeeping institutions.
 
Mark says that in many Pacific countries, recordkeeping frameworks are weak or non-existent and do not support the needs of governments or communities. A strong need has been identified for practical recordkeeping tools that are appropriate to the circumstances of the Pacific. To help address this need, PARBICA developed the Recordkeeping for Good Governance Toolkit.
 
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Pictured above: Mark Crookston (third from left) with other members of PARBICA, at the conference in Brisbane, Australia last year.
 
The toolkit is a suite of recordkeeping tools which provides practical guidance on creating, maintaining, and disposing of records.
 
The guidelines are intentionally simple and flexible, to address the issues of developing and implementing practical recordkeeping solutions across institutional and jurisdictional borders by those who do not have in-depth knowledge of recordkeeping and archival concepts.
 
Archives New Zealand led the development of 4 of the 11 current toolkit guidelines. An additional set of guidelines, on electronic recordkeeping, is currently being developed under the leadership of the National Archives of Australia.
 
The success of the toolkit has been widely acknowledged. The International Council on Archives has also adapted and translated this resource into French for use in French-speaking west and central African countries.
 
“PARBICA is building good working relationships with organisations in the Pacific region that have an interest in recordkeeping. This will enable governments of Pacific countries to support the needs of their citizens through robust recordkeeping practices," Mark says.
 
“We have support from the Pacific Island Forum Secretariat who recognises good records management as a fundamental pillar of good governance.”
 
The Bureau holds teleconference meeting two monthly. A conference for PARBICA members is held every two years, with the next one scheduled for Samoa in 2011.
 
Further information about PARBICA is available on http://www.parbica.org/.

Fact-finding at PROV to prepare for probate and wills digitisation 

 
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A fact-finding trip across the ditch has prepared Archives New Zealand Archivist, Sarah McClintock for her new venture as Project Manager of the wills and probates digitisation project which the department will carry out in partnership with the FamilySearch organisation of Utah, USA.
 
To investigate the best way of handling the project, Sarah visited the Public Records Office of Victoria (PROV) in Australia in late November last year. She said, “they have just finished the same type of project we’re about to start. I visited to see how they went about it and to learn from their experience.
 
“I was really interested to see how their procedures worked and what I’ve learnt will be very useful to our project. My visit identified many aspects of the work, such as storing the records once they’ve been digitised, and has given me a lot to think about,” she said.
 
The project, which is set to start in April, has the ultimate goal of making wills and probate (estate documents that go with wills) held by Archives New Zealand more accessible.
 
Sarah said, “there are 300,000 probates in the Wellington office alone, with the earliest record from the 1840s. The added benefit of digitisation is that delicate records such as those early probates will no longer have to be handled, and so will be better preserved.”
 
Record digitisation refers to making electronic copies of documents and uploading these onto Archives’ online search engine, Archway. Being made available online will greatly increase the accessibility of this rich source of information.
 
The project is department-wide, with the wills and probates files held in the Auckland, Christchurch and Dunedin offices set to be digitised also. The project is expected to take five years to complete.
 

Recognition for good work 

 
Archives New Zealand’s new recognition programme acknowledges staff for significant achievements at work through a series of awards.
 
The annual recognition programme is part of the department’s rewards policy and is consistent with our values and strategic goals.
 
The programme has five strands of recognition: Chief Executive’s scholarship, Acclaim Awards, Spotlight Awards, Celebrating Service and Informal Recognition.
 

History students get to know our Christchurch holdings

 
 
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History students of Dr Lyndon Fraser, Senior Sociology Lecturer at the University of Canterbury, inspect 19th century Canterbury archives in the Reading Room of the Archives New Zealand Christchurch Regional Office.
 
The students were given a tour of the office by Archivist Rosie Ballantyne to familiarise them with the department’s procedures and holdings. After completing the tour the students worked on exercises set by their lecturer using selected series of archives.
 
Some 40 of Dr Fraser’s students visit the office early each academic year.

Out with the old ... 

 
When several old and unwanted items of video recording equipment were dropped off at Archives New Zealand’s Regional Christchurch office by Trackside Television, our Wellington-based audio-visual unit saw a good use for them.

 
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Senior Audio Visual Adviser David Smith says, “the equipment, includes three Sony U-matic recorders which were used from the late 1970s until the early 2000s, and two Panasonic MII recorders, which were never widely adopted, but were used in the 1990s.”
 
This ancient video recording equipment will be added to the new video suite on the ground floor of the Wellington office.