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Issue #20, October 2013

Download a text only version of Ngā Tapuwae.

Greg's introduction

Kia ora everyone

Welcome to the new look Ngā Tapuwae which I trust you will find straightforward to navigate and easier to read. The new format also makes it easier for us to set-up and distribute.  To ensure you are on the mailing list for future issues please sign-up on the introductory page.

In this issue, the story about former civil servant Peter Boag’s records coming to Archives New Zealand is interesting reading, as he was a dedicated recordkeeper.  These records span his entire career in the public sector and provide a valuable insight into his life and times.

Other recent additions to the collections include some of the previously secret files from the New Zealand Security Intelligence Service spanning the period from 1920 to 1945 and known as the Old Police Files.

The Local Government Schedule has just been updated to make it easier for local government recordkeepers to do their job and to line up with the evolving nature of recordkeeping practices as we step further into the technological age.

I have just been in Canberra catching up with colleagues in the Australasian recordkeeping sector and we had fruitful discussion about working together to ensure we can lead and support the move to digital recordkeeping.

Together with David Fricker, Director-General National Archives of Australia, and Michael Loebenstein Director National Film and Sound Archive Australia, we ran an interactive plenary session to consider the fast-changing business of archiving and the need for a sustainable business model that will take us into the digital future.

Closer to home, you’ll see the Dunedin Regional Archive enjoyed a double 20 year celebration and you can also find out more about the project to open a new interactive gallery space in the Molesworth Street building, which will showcase key archives of nationhood.

All the best

Greg Goulding

Chief Archivist and General Manager 
Archives New Zealand

Former Internal Affairs Secretary’s records gifted to Archives

Greg Goulding and Elisabeth Boag.

Chief Archivist and General Manager Archives New Zealand Greg Goulding meets Elisabeth Boag on her visit to the Wellington Office

Peter Boag, Secretary of Internal Affairs from 1986 until 1990, when he took compulsory retirement, was a consummate collector, and his significant records are now available at Archives New Zealand’s Wellington office.

Gifted to the repository by his wife Elisabeth Boag, the records provide an in-depth look into the work and life of one of the last of the so-called career public servants. 

Highly regarded by MPs and public servants prior to his Internal Affairs role, Peter Boag worked in the State Services Commission during a period of huge upheaval in the public sector that resulted from the State Sector Act 1988.

The collection of his records, which includes documents relating to the Queen’s Royal Visit in 1990 and the Project Development Board for Te Papa, is a goldmine of information, particularly for researchers compiling a history of this period and its key players.

“This is a significantly important collection,” says Description and Discovery Manager Margaret Parbhu, “as it provides a unique perspective into government records through the lens of a key decision-making senior official.

“Archives New Zealand does not hold any other records of senior public servants that span an entire career.”

Senior Archivist Wendy Harnett said, “these records have extraordinary value because in our opinion Peter Boag was clearly an exceptional leader. 

“His letters are fascinating to read due to his frankness and the intelligent thought he brought to the topic at hand.”

Elisabeth Boag was invited to Archives’ Wellington building last month to take a close look at the repository which now boasts a large quantity of her husband’s records.

Elisabeth Boag was overwhelmed and delighted when she was taken into the repository to view the records. She was also presented with a spiral-bound memorial record book, complete with a cover photograph of her husband. 

While not wanting to appear boastful, Elisabeth Boag said she is, "proud of my husband for what he achieved”, adding that working on the project has been “a tremendous amount of fun”.

The records are now available from the Wellington office reading room and via Archives New Zealand’s electronic finding aid, Archway [Archives reference: AGFF 24853 W5728].

Throughout his lifetime Peter Boag was a meticulous recordkeeper, keeping every last official dinner menu and business flight boarding pass. Understandably, Elisabeth Boag had quite a challenge on her hands to sort through the records, many of which were stored in a garage and getting damp – and chose to call on the skills of Archives New Zealand to get them sorted.

Peter Wilson Boag 1929 – 2006

With a background in secondary teaching, Peter Boag was General Secretary of the Post Primary Teachers’ Association before entering the public service, where he had a notable career.

He was appointed Director of Secondary Education in the Department of Education in 1973 and later became Assistant Director-General of Education. 

He subsequently held top positions in the State Services Commission and was seconded from there to Treasury for almost a year to "sort them out’’. He was the Secretary/CE of Internal Affairs from 1986 until his compulsory retirement in 1990 aged 60.

During his retirement the Government invited Peter Boag to sit on a number of boards and carry out various government reviews.  He was also involved in many private sector interests. In 2001 he became an officer of the New Zealand Order of Merit "for public and community services’’.

Elisabeth Boag, Susan Jenkins, Wendy Harnett and Margaret Parbhu.

Cutting a special ribbon to the repository area where her husband Peter Boag’s collection is held, Elisabeth Boag (second left) with left to right, Archivist Susan Jenkins, Senior Archivist Wendy Harnett and Manager Description and Discovery Margaret Parbhu

Elisabeth Boag.

In the repository, Elisabeth Boag holds the memorial book put together by Wendy Harnett and Susan Jenkins

Archive of the moment: Centennial exhibition features Māori Court

[Archives ref: ACIH, 16209, R22154670]

The Māori Court was one of the feature exhibits at the New Zealand Centennial Exhibition at Rongotai, Wellington, staged from November 1939 to May 1940.

Opened on 14 December 1939, the Māori Court was designed, carved and decorated under Sir Apirana Ngata's close supervision.

The master carver was Pine Taiapa assisted by his brother Hone, Iotua (Charlie) Tuarau and Hōhaia (Joe) Mōkaraka, who was from North Auckland. The tukutuku work was carried out under the supervision of Roa Tuhou and Pirihira Heketa while Ringatū Poi was responsible for the kōwhaiwhai patterns.

The other three illustrations, taken from the Māori Court Souvenir Programme, feature Te Whakamahau (the porch), inner marae and Mai-Tawhiti – a carved panel representing one of the canoes of the Māori migration.

More than 2.6 million visitors flocked to the Centennial Exhibition and Archives New Zealand has a range of relevant records accessible through Archway.

Māori court - Illustration taken from the Māori Court Souvenir programme.

Te Whakamahau (the porch)

Inner marae - Illustration taken from the Māori Court Souvenir programme.

Inner marae

Mai Tawhiti - Illustration taken from the Māori Court Souvenir programme.

Mai-Tawhiti – a carved panel representing one of the canoes of the Māori migration

NZSIS police records made available

Kyle Leota.

Archivist Kyle Leota checks through the NZSIS records

Special branch records detailing the coming and goings of people up and down New Zealand from 1920 to 1945 are now available on the Archives New Zealand website (via Archway) and for view at the Wellington office.

Known as Old Police Records, the files have been transferred to the Archives by the New Zealand Security Intelligence Service (NZSIS). The records index the reports of the New Zealand Police Special Branch, the forerunner of the NZSIS which was in existence from 1920 to 1957.

Special Branch was set up in 1920 “to investigate and report on revolutionary matters in New Zealand”. In 1920, “revolutionary matters” meant anything to do with the promulgation of communism following the Russian Revolution in 1917.

The records comprise a unique index of Special Branch activities from the period shortly after the Russian Revolution, through World War Two and into the early years of the Cold War.

Archivist Kyle Leota says 31 of 56 volumes of records have been transferred, with the others due later this year.

“The transfer is part of the push by the NZSIS to make their legacy records readily available to the public,” he said.

“The files are the special branch recording sheets and when people check these out they will get an idea of who was being watched and why. The related files are still held by the NZSIS and may be available on request, dependent on access conditions.

“People can check out the NZSIS Archives Policy for more details.” 

As well as information about suspected revolutionaries the files also record the activities of other "persons of interest". These include World War Two pacifists and anti-conscriptionists, and aliens of doubtful national and political loyalty.

The 1920-1945 police records also index the earliest mentions in the security context of future Prime Ministers Michael Savage, Peter Fraser and Walter Nash, and personalities such as William Ball Sutch, Paddy Costello, Ian Milner, Jock Barnes and Elsie Locke.

Some records also list the attendees at public and closed meetings of the Communist Party of New Zealand and its branches, and assorted leftist, pacifist and workers’ organisations.

Detailed information about the records is on the NZSIS website.

Making it easier for local government recordkeepers

Anna Monson.

The current and evolving recordkeeping requirements for those working in the local authority sector is the reason for the recent update of the Local Government Schedule.

“The schedule which specifies which types of local authority records must be kept as protected records was last updated in 1998 and the environment for recordkeeping has changed significantly since then,” says Disposal and Acquisition Archivist Anna Monson (pictured above).

“Changes to the structure and functions of local bodies and new technology and systems have also had an impact,” she said.

“Earlier this year we worked with stakeholders and in collaboration with the Association of Local Government and Information Management (ALGIM) and SWIM Ltd to ensure the update aligns with the ALGIM Information Management Toolkit retention and disposal schedule.”

The schedule has been replaced by the List of Protected Records for Local Authorities.

Find out more by checking the Explanatory Notes that sit alongside the list providing further context and advice. This includes:

  • aligning with new legislation - for example, the Local Government Act 2002 and the Public Records Act 2005, and
  • expanding the content to include additional examples that provide clarity.

If you have any further questions about the update, contact Anna via email: or by phone (04) 894 6042.

Dunedin Archive – 20 years on

Twenty years of being open to the public was celebrated at the Dunedin Regional Office on Wednesday 6 September. The office was officially opened by Hon Graeme Lee, Minister of Internal Affairs, on 1 September 1993.

To mark the occasion, staff and current volunteers, former first day staff, representatives from other Dunedin institutions and the Archives and Records Association of New Zealand, and people with a long connection to the archive, gathered for a special morning tea.

“We were especially delighted to have Kathryn Patterson, Chief Archivist in 1993, here from Wellington for the event,” Regional Archivist Peter Miller said. Kathryn did much to secure our office at the time and was also present at its opening.”

Other guests included Archives Council member Stuart Strachan who was also the first registered reader in the office.

Peter Miller, Yvonne Wilkie and Anna Blackman.

At the 20th opening celebrations, left to right, Regional Archivist Peter Miller, Yvonne Wilkie and Anna Blackman

Denise Shirley, Kathryn Patterson, Susan Guthrie and Prue Turnbull.

Denise Shirley, former Chief Archivist Kathryn Patterson, Susan Guthrie and Prue Turnbull

Twenty years service

Sharon Keith and Peter Miller.

Cutting the 20th anniversary cake – Sharon Keith and Peter Miller

Staff member Sharon Keith's anniversary of 20 years as Regional Administrative Assistant occurred on 16 August. Sharon’s long service was marked by being taken out to lunch on the day and a morning tea the next week.

New space to showcase significant national archives

Kit O’Connor

Design work is currently underway for the new contemporary gallery featuring a selection of New Zealand’s archives of nationhood timed to open next year in the refurbished National Library building in Wellington.

“Having a purpose-built space of 360 square metres in Molesworth Street means we can showcase the documents to their best advantage,” says Project Leader Kit O’Connor (pictured).

“We will be incorporating interactive features to give people a high value visitor experience,” she says. “Backed by online information and educational resources the exhibition will feature archives spanning more than 150 years.”

Central to the exhibition will be the nine sheets of the 1840 Treaty of Waitangi (Te Tiriti o Waitangi), the 1835 Declaration of Independence of the Northern Chiefs and the 1893 Women’s Suffrage Petition.

The new gallery is being developed in response to a 2012 Cabinet decision to close the current exhibition space known as the Constitution Room in the Archives New Zealand building in Mulgrave Street, Wellington, and to reopen in the new space.

“The Archives New Zealand Constitution Room, open since the 1990s, was excellent in its time, but now lacks the required space for people to find out more about the archives,” Kit O’Connor says.

“Our goal is to create a new culture and heritage experience that invites exploration and discussion about the meaning and significance of selected archives from a personal, community and national perspective.

“With its close proximity to Parliament the gallery will be easy to access and being open six days a week gives people, particularly families, a greater opportunity to engage with the archives.

“We are especially looking forward to opening the doors to students and visitors to Wellington. We are working hard to ensure there will be something for everyone.”

The project team is currently consulting with a range of stakeholders including Māori, education practitioners and colleagues within the culture and heritage sector, to ensure the exhibition contributes to broader civics education.  The greater goal is to provide an experience that connects New Zealanders to their whakapapa, while also engaging with international visitors.

“Our focus is on providing a memorable visitor experience,” Kit says.  “We aim to stimulate, excite, charm, challenge, and engage people with the archives in a fun and motivating way.”

Bits and bytes

Tweeting here and there

The popularity of the Archives New Zealand tweets is spreading as they have just been picked up by national online news media Stuff. 

Check out the daily tweets in the Daily Fix section where you are invited to find out more about Today in History by digging into New Zealand’s archives.

Saving our heritage for the next generation

Preserving vulnerable sound recordings and moving images is the focus for this year’s World Day for Audiovisual Heritage 2013 and Saving Our Heritage for the Next Generation is the theme.

UNESCO adopted 27 October as the World Day for Audiovisual Heritage to better focus global attention on what needs to be done, in cooperation with the Coordinating Council of Audiovisual Archives Associations (CCAAA) and other partners.

Piecing together the Stasi puzzle

The fall of the Berlin wall led to the destruction of secret files kept on citizens for some 40 years, but modern technology is currently helping to piece them together.

The former East Germany Ministry of State Security, better known by its acronym Stasi, kept files on its citizens, from intercepted mail to interrogation transcripts. Some 600 million puzzle pieces are now being put together to bring the records back to life.

Going digital in NSW

Transferring records into the NSW Digital Archive Repository is on a roll and a discussion document is currently out for consultation on the process. Find out more about what’s being done by checking the State Records website.