Ngā Tapuwae - the Footprints - is the newsletter of Archives New Zealand. It tells the stories of our people, our work and achievements.
Kia ora everyone We have been particularly busy at Archives New Zealand over the last couple of months and I am pleased to share these happenings with you in this latest issue of Ngā Tapuwae.
Additionally I have some significant news to tell you all that will ensure the continual preservation of New Zealand’s historic film.
Archives New Zealand and Park Road Post Productions have reached an agreement which sees some film processing facilities move to our Wellington office. The Park Road Post laboratory closed at the end of June and we have been working with them to secure the film preservation service.
We have more than 1000 films in need of preservation with some on unstable nitrate and acetate stock. We want to restore them onto polyester to ensure their on-going survival. Having the laboratory at Archives New Zealand means we can continue with this important work.
You can read more about these films – the hidden gems we hold in this issue of Ngā Tapuwae and as well find out more about those that are available on our YouTube channel.
In this issue we also find out more about the work of out Client Capability team both in New Zealand and the Pacific. We acknowledge the tremendous work of the many volunteers who help us make more information available to you online and record the significance of the recently launched ICT Strategy.
The Archive of the Moment is always a good read and this time we look at our connection with Korea through the eyes of former Prime Minister Robert Muldoon.
All the best
From left to right, Margaret Morris (ATL), Vicki-Anne Heikell (ATL), Frank Fabry (ATL), Ronnie Pace (Archives New Zealand), Peter Whitehead (ATL) Diana Coop (Archives New Zealand) Jennie Cauchi (Te Papa) and Phillipa Durkin (Te Papa).
The task of ensuring there is a fitting display for the Treaty of Waitangi and other archives when the tāonga move to their new Wellington home next year is another step closer.
Archives New Zealand’s Preservation and Collection Manager Diana Coop says this was achieved at a recent workshop when eight professional conservators got together to share collective knowledge.
“We need to get the right environment for our founding tāonga and discussing options to ensure the ongoing preservation of this fragile document at a collaborative workshop has been rewarding,” she says.
“This was the first time conservators from Archives New Zealand, the Alexander Turnbull Library (ALT) and Te Papa have worked together in such a collaborative way. The experience was informative and valuable for us all.
“It’s important to rigorously test the information we have about the conservation practices of the past to inform the preparation of tāonga and ensure their ongoing conservation.
“We need to create the optimum conditions for the new Archives New Zealand visitor experience which will be housed in the National Library building in Molesworth Street from early next year.
“The workshop gave us the opportunity to run through and discuss the different options we have for analysis and treatment of our tāonga based on current available information.”
Coupled with the workshop Diana says the Active Archives team, the team charged with setting up the new visitor experience, were fortunate to have a conservation information exchange with Dr Fenella France, Chief of the Preservation Research and Testing Division at the US Library of Congress.
“Fenella spent a morning with Collection Care staff giving us a welcome insight into her specialist area; using imaging techniques to reveal the physical nature of archives,” Diana said.
All this information coupled with recent analysis, such as XRF and micro-fading testing (read more about this in Documents Reveal their Secrets) will be used to complete the full condition report on Te Tiriti o Waitangi and other tāonga for the visitor experience display.
Department of Internal Affairs' Chief Executive Colin MacDonald at the ICT Strategy and Action Plan launch.
Monday June 24 was an exciting day for the Department of Internal Affairs and for the broader public service as the Government ICT Strategy and Action Plan to 2017 (Strategy and Action Plan) was launched at Parliament.
The plan was developed by an inter-agency taskforce which included a number of key groups within the Department as well as people from some 60 other agencies.
Internal Affairs Minister, Hon Chris Tremain, says the four-year-plan will see greater collaboration between agencies, smarter management of our information and technology, a strong move towards more online services and better oversight of government ICT projects.
He said the plan could save up to $100 million per annum by 2017 and extra funding for the Government Chief Information Officer (GCIO) will ensure better oversight of ICT projects and protection of New Zealanders’ private information.
“The GCIO will now be able to provide a public sector-wide overview of ICT plans, projects and risks. This will identify areas where early intervention is required, and provide Ministers with independent advice on whether projects should proceed.”
Department of Internal Affairs Chief Executive and Government Chief Information Officer Colin MacDonald said the Strategy and Action Plan sets the policy direction for how government ICT will support the transformational change required to deliver better public services.
The Strategy and Action Plan has four focus areas:
The GCIO will develop and issue standards across the State Sector to give the public, Ministers and other stakeholders greater confidence that ICT risks and processes are identified and managed effectively.
John Roberts, Director Government ICT Strategy and Planning says together the strategy and plan will better inform the work of Archives New Zealand in its role to provide advice and guidance to government agencies working in the information and records management field.
The Strategy and Action Plan contributes to two of the Government’s Better Public Services targets:
Chris Gousmett, public information manager at Hutt City Council is singing the praises of Archives New Zealand after staff managed to retrieve some image files that were thought to be lost forever.
The files were on an old format (OS/2 legacy IBM on 3.5 inch disks) and couldn’t be read by any of the modern technology the council had so they turned to Mick Crouch and Ross Spencer of the Government Digital Archive team for help.
“The files were in an unknown format from a 1995 vintage IBM operating system – a format as yet unidentified by popular format identification tools,” Ross says.
“We did the usual checks but failed to identify the files.
“A Google search confirmed someone else had had the same problem. A bit more tracking and detective work and we had confirmation that the original environment was OS/2. But that was it. We were staring at an obsolete format; definition: “A format, which, within our limited resourced world view at the time, we could no longer use.”
“Our final point of call was to see if we could put the format back into its original environment to observe it in its natural state. From there, the process became much simpler. As it turned out, an OS/2 installation running on VirtualBox knew what to do with these files, and we even managed, after a few false starts, to convert them to a format that is readable on modern technology.”
The end result is the files have now made their way onto the public search engine at the Petone Settlers’ Museum. People searching the Petone Settlers database now have access to shipping records complete with digital images of the ships.
“It’s made a big difference to the public experience. We are very grateful to the government digital archive team for their effort in assisting in getting these online for the public to view,” Chris Gousmett says.
To look at the rediscovered images go to the Petone Settlers database and enter one of Adelaide, Wakatipu, Pleione, Rimutaka, Aorangi, Waihora, or Tongariro in the “ship’s name” field.
To learn more about the process of converting the files, and some of the issues raised for digital preservation see Ross’s blog on Open Planets Foundation.
On 27 June 1951, North Korea joined the Armistice Talks that were intended to try and end the Korean War. The talks had already been under way for 17 days and it was only pressure from allies Russia and China that persuaded the North Koreans to take part.
Two years later on July 27, 1953 the Armistice ending hostilities in the region was signed. However, technically North and South Korea are still at war, as no peace treaty has ever been negotiated.
One of the lasting effects of the war was the creation of a demilitarised zone. The zone is effectively a 2.5 km buffer between the two Koreas. The then New Zealand Prime Minister Robert Muldoon visited the demilitarised zone during his visits to South Korea in 1976 and 1981. His visits were captured on camera, with details of the visits in Muldoon’s papers on the Archives New Zealand website.
Archives New Zealand has a number of records relating to New Zealand’s involvement in the Korean War including the Unit Diaries of the New Zealand troops involved – the Kayforce. Here is the Archway link to the information: http://www.archway.archives.govt.nz/ViewRelatedEntities.do?code=17581&relatedEntity=Item
Former Prime Minister Rt Hon Robert Muldoon in the demilitarised zone.
With his wife Theo in the background former Prime Minister Rt Hon Robert Muldoon on his visit to Korea.
National Volunteer Week in June gives us the opportunity to say a great big thank you to the volunteers who make a significant contribution to Archives New Zealand nationwide.
He Tangata! He Tangata! He Tangata! - it is people, it is people, it is people, the theme for the week, comes from the Māori proverb that asks what the most important thing in the world is.
According to Statistics New Zealand General Social Survey 2008 an estimated third of New Zealanders volunteer and at Archives New Zealand this includes FamilySearch representatives form the United States.
Volunteers are integral to Archives New Zealand with their hard work resulting in making much more information available online.
Christchurch Family Search volunteer Earl Petersen photographing a probate file.
Currently some 25 volunteers from the New Zealand Society of Genealogists are working in the Auckland office on the probate digitisation project. Taking at least five years to complete the project will see thousands of records searchable online. For many years another core group of volunteers have been indexing and listing a wide variety of records held there. Examples include listing individual letters to the Auckland Collector of Customs, and indexing by name early Auckland Hospital patient registers, school, divorce, hotel license and old age pension records to name a few.
Regional Archivist Mark Stoddart says the volunteers’ endeavours have greatly improved access to these records which are of immense interest and value to genealogists, local historians and students.
“Similar work has also been undertaken at our Christchurch Office and is continuing despite the earthquakes,” he said.
“We are hoping to capture a worldwide pool of volunteers once development work on the next stage which is an indexer is completed.
“The overall contribution of volunteers to the goals of Archives New Zealand is invaluable.”
Local Christchurch volunteers working on probate file lists. Left to right: John Strange, Elizabeth Stewart and Gaynor Phillips.
Christchurch Family Search volunteers Nancy Cannon and Sherry Petersen flattening probate files.
Prue Turnbull and Gerard Ellis.
Peter Millar, Dunedin Regional Archivist agrees saying, “We presently have volunteers assisting us with two very different jobs, for which we are exceedingly grateful.
“For more than three years members of the New Zealand Society of Genealogists, Dunedin Branch have been listing gold mining applications to the various Wardens' Courts in Otago/Southland,” he said.
Once listed, the details including the name, location, description and date are put up on Archway, the Archives New Zealand online finding aid.
“The outcome gives researchers worldwide digital access to more of our holdings, and this is especially valuable in this instance, as gold mining is a high-interest topic.
“Currently four genealogists are here on a weekly basis – Prue Turnbull, Eleanor Leckie, Gerard Ellis and Denise Shirley. Their goal is to list all the applications from the 1860s to 1900, with the later years next off the block.
“We really appreciate all they and the branch do for us, as it means staff can get on with other work.
The Dunedin office library collection requires the special skills of a librarian, particularly to do some of the acquisition and cataloguing work. The latter is overseen by Debbie Burgoyne from Government Information Services, but locally there is a need to acquire books on Otago/Southland history and then process the details of these.
For this awesome work the office is fortunate to have the professional services of Mignon Pickwell, the former Otago University Science Librarian, who has undertaken these tasks for a number of years now. Mignon assists in the purchasing of new books, completes the acquisition process, and catalogues the books before they are shelved.
“Mignon coming in on a regular basis freeing-up staff time for core archival work, and this is a real bonus for us,” says Peter.
Tricia and Pen on their last day at ‘work’.
Four of Archives New Zealand’s best, long time volunteers have tidied up their desks and gone, leaving behind inroads into a wealth of historical information.
Sue Crookston, Jackie Lowe, Pen Brown, and Tricia Ellis, all from the New Zealand Society of Genealogists have been volunteering with Archives New Zealand since the late 1990s.
For some 15 years they have worked their way through paper records transcribing them into Excel spreadsheets so they can be easily digitised and made readily available to other genealogists and researchers.
“We started with the probate register, moved onto records of school admissions and are now going through the intentions to marry,” says Tricia. “As genealogists we have been happily enjoying other people’s work relevant to our own genealogy research,” says Pen. “Volunteering was a chance to give back and make more records available for others.
“Digitisation of these records is important for genealogists because of the vastly improved access to the records,” he says.
Originally the group worked on Saturday mornings, as most of them were still employed in day jobs. They moved to Monday afternoons later in the piece as they retired from fulltime work.
The four started with records created in 1882 and have now reached 1899.
FamilySearch is taking over the intention to marry digitisation starting with records from the 1900s.
“Digitisation means people can look up information on the internet at home – they don’t need to make a trip to an Archives New Zealand reading room,” says Pen. “And it’s very easy – you type in the surname you are interested in and, if you know, the year and town or city where the intention was made. That will bring you to copies of original records and access to the extra information included.”
Tricia says her favourite records are the school admissions, where the notes provide a wide variety of additional information about the children and their backgrounds.
As for the future – these four family researchers will have a bit more time to continue their genealogical interests – as well as improving their golf handicaps, spending time with their grandchildren and pursuing a passion for overseas travel.
An important audit of films at Archives New Zealand is revealing some hidden gems including footage of Sir Ernest Shackleton’s boat leaving Lyttleton Harbour in 1908 on one of his journeys to the South Pole.
In January 1909 Shackleton and three companions made a southern march which established a record Farthest South latitude at 88° 23′ S, 97 geographical miles (112 statute miles, 180 km) from the South Pole. For this achievement, Shackleton was knighted by King Edward VII on his return home.
Archivist Uili Fecteau says holding film that contributes to both New Zealand’s and the world’s heritage makes his job unique and rewarding.
The Shackleton footage was captured by James McDonald, a Government photographer for the Tourist and Publicity Department.
“McDonald was one of New Zealand’s first Government Cinematographers,” says Uili. “He also shot very rare footage of Māori songs, dances and games performed in the 1920s at a couple of large hui.
“Others I found interesting include one shot in Napier prior to the 1931 Hawkes Bay earthquake followed by one taken after the earthquake struck Napier enabling comparisons to be made,” Uili says.
“Sunny Napier, 1929, is a travelogue and Travels Through Napier, 1931, is by the Reserve Bank Architect C H Mitchell, making it important footage of the time.
“A Len Lye film of 1928 called Tusalava and one of the Ballentyne’s fire in Christchurch in 1947 when 41 people lost their lives are also great ‘finds’.”
As Uili unearths the film he records its date, condition and location on a spreadsheet, making it easier to ascertain what’s what and also to rank the film in order of importance and condition for preservation purposes.
Film on acetate stock is disintegrating rapidly and this stock take means Archives New Zealand can prioritise to an extent the preservation list. Some important film has already been preserved onto polyester, extending its shelf life for another 200 to 300 years.
With the Park Road Post film preservation laboratory closing at the end of June Archives New Zealand has been on a mission to preserve as much film as possible on polyester stock.
“Now we are setting-up the laboratory at Archives New Zealand’s Wellington office we will be able to manage this process ourselves. Once preserved much of the film will be made available on the Archives New Zealand YouTube channel.
“This means people can see the films easily and through the Creative Commons license they can use and reuse the footage to create their own stories. Ensuring our history goes on for upcoming generations,” Uili said.
Archives New Zealand is taking its collections out to more people via social media channels and since 1 May began tweeting seven days a week scoring an average of 46,000 impressions a week.
At https://twitter.com/ArchivesNZ you can see the tweets which link archival documents, photographs, videos and paintings hosted on Archway – Archives New Zealand’s online finding aid.
“Every tweet is relevant to the day on which it is published,” says Alan Ferris Manager Archives Online. “In May we also published our 500th film on the Archives New Zealand YouTube channel at: http://www.youtube.com/archivesnz.”
Alan believes this is some thing of a record as only the US National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) has posted more – some 920, and comparisons on a population basis are just as impressive.
“New Zealand’s population is 4.5 million compared to the US population of just under 316 million people; 71 times that of New Zealand. So our now 540 videos, compared to population size, stacks up well.
“Since NARA has been on YouTube they have attracted 2.2 million views or 0.7 per cent of the US population. Over a shorter period, Archives New Zealand has attracted the equivalent of 9 per cent of the New Zealand population (420,000 views).”
With the upcoming commemorations of World War One due to begin next year Alan says people are welcome to check out relevant material at the official Government WW100 web site: https://www.facebook.com/WW100NZ
The site is also being regularly updated. For those wanting to see the authentic records a visit to the reading rooms in Auckland, Wellington, Christchurch and Dunedin is advised.
“However, with today’s technology wherever people are they can connect to the internet and access archives and it costs nothing,” Alan says.
Rats in the kitchen, mosquitoes everywhere and high temperatures didn’t deter two New Zealand experts from getting on with the job of assisting Tuvalu records clerks get the running on recordkeeping best practise.
Early in June Archives New Zealand Senior Archivist Talei Masters and National Library Digital Collection Strategy Leader Mark Crookston spent 11 days in Tuvalu workshopping with 25 delegates the ins and outs of the PARBICA Recordkeeping for Good Governance Toolkit.
Developed specifically for use across the Pacific the toolkit is the brainchild of PARBICA – the Pacific Regional Branch of the International Council on Archives. And with its role to support records and information management in the Pacific Archives New Zealand was extensively involved in the development of the toolkit.
“This was the first time PARBICA representatives had been to Tuvalu and the first time records clerks within the country had come together,” says Mark.
“They valued having the opportunity to learn first-hand about recordkeeping best practice, Pacific style, and they also valued the community of practice they were able to develop as a result.
“You can’t apply international best practice in a place like Tuvalu where the conditions are so different to what we experience here. This is where the PARBICA recordkeeping toolkit comes in.”
Agreeing Talei says, “through the workshop we helped them adapt the relevant guidelines for Tuvalu. We used the toolkit as a framework – it has a recordkeeping framework as a starting point and we examined how to use that to improve current practice.
“Together we drafted a Tuvalu Recordkeeping Policy which now goes through a consultation process with senior government officials before it’s signed-off.
“Having tangible outputs is rewarding and we were also overwhelmed by the feedback we got from the workshop,” she said. Delegates’ feedback included:
Both Mark and Talei are looking forward to maintaining a strong relationship with both Tuvalu and other records and archives people in the Pacific.
“Archives New Zealand has a strong focus in the Pacific and an undertaking through PARBICA to support good recordkeeping and be proactive there,” says Mark who is a former Secretary-General of PARBICA. This role is currently held by Manager Recordkeeping Capability Anna Gulbransen with Talei as Assistant.
“Delegates made a real effort to be at the workshop, some travelling hundreds of kilometres from outlying islands,” Talei says. “However, while the environment is different, working together with them means we can make a difference.”
The workshops were fully funded by the International Council on Archives.
Tuvalu National Library and Archives staff in the library.
Mark and Talei outside the Tuvalu National Library and Archives with their hosts.
Workshop participants outside the Government Building for International Archives Day.
The kitchen area had all the basics, but no air conditioning.
While it looks idyllic living on a rocky atoll means there is little soil for growing fruit and vegetables, making it an issue for the islanders.
Archives New Zealand is continuing with a series of initiatives that will make it easier for government agencies to manage information well. Acting Client Capability Director Patrick Power says that the team are focussed on making Public Records Act standards and guidance clearer and easier to use.
"We are retooling our standards and guidance for the digital world - making them easier to read, easier to understand, and easier to use."
Archives New Zealand is currently consulting on a refreshed and reframed version of its mandatory recordkeeping standards, which are issued under the Public Records Act 2005.
Four separate recordkeeping standards have been combined into one document and the content and language has been streamlined and simplified to make it easier for stakeholders to understand and implement the requirements.The new mandatory standard will be published later this year, after working through any suggested changes following the consultation process.
Archives Advisor Derek Clear says that several information sessions on the new standard will be run by Archives New Zealand till mid-August this year. These include sessions in Wellington, Auckland and Christchurch.
"We’ll also run sessions in other parts of the country, such as Dunedin and the central North Island, if there’s enough demand," says Derek. Find out more.
Archives New Zealand has issued a new general disposal authority (GDA) which replaces three separate general disposal authorities, and is the first major revision of the GDAs since 2006.
Archives New Zealand issues GDAs to govern and provide legal authority for the disposal of common corporate service records, including human resources, financial, accounting and general administrative records in public offices. The GDAs were last updated in 2006 in response to the introduction of the Public Records Act. As a part of feedback and agency engagement, Archives New Zealand has been monitoring agencies’ feedback since the GDAs were authorised. A General Disposal Authorities Refresh Project was initiated in 2012 proposing to review the GDAs recommending: an amalgamation of the classes in GDA 1, 2 and 4 and a refresh of GDA3. Archives New Zealand sought advice on the new GDAs through an advisory committee which comprised of government agencies and consultants. The final draft copy has been published on our website as a part of the Intention to Dispose process. Archives New Zealand has considered feedback and has made appropriate changes.
Archives Advisor Ariel Liu says that a key driver for the project was to provide a service that would be fit for purpose, have easy to interpret classes that are aligned and consistent with each other and can be applied to all media types, as well as becoming more customer focussed. Until this year the service was only available in hard copy format. The new service is available online in soft copy format and allows users to:
A conversion table has been produced to make it easier for public offices to better support change management, says Ariel. We will continue to improve the service and we are keen to get your feedback. You can contact the team at firstname.lastname@example.org.
People working in the public sector information sector got together at forum held in Archives New Zealand's Wellington office to get an update on recordkeeping standards.
An exhibition in the Dunedin Regional Archive focussing on the environment will take a look at animal control and its relationship with conservation.
Archives relating to the Fiordland moose, the kokako and takahe will be included as will illustrated reports from Richard Henry who was the sole curator and caretaker stationed at Resolution Island for some 10 years from 1894.
Archivist Geordy Muir who is curating the exhibition says some of the interesting finds in the archive include early Bills relating to animal control – such as the Dog Nuisance (Māori Dogs) Bill from 1854 and an Opossum Survey Map from 1950.
An Environmental Concern: Animal Archives and the Hermit of Dusky Sound is a free exhibition opening on 1 July and can be seen Monday to Friday, 9.30am to 5.00pm in the Dunedin Regional Archive George Street.
An exhibit from the up-coming display in Dunedin.
Having the opportunity to add to the Alexander Turnbull Library collection was a bonus for Mark Crookston, Digital Collection Strategy Leader, when he was in Tuvalu recently for a recordkeeping workshop.
Mark says the Pacific collection of the Alexander Turnbull Library is an important component of the National Library’s statutory mandate and he was pleased to bring back some items of ephemera from his trip.
“Books and music are not published on the tiny atolls of Tuvalu, but I picked up 20 posters which raise awareness about health and non-communicable diseases, anti-corruption as well as colourful fish posters.
“My personal favourite is the poster showing how many teaspoons of fat I ate while there,” Mark says.
“With only a wafer thin layer of poor quality soil on Tuvalu only coconut trees thrive. We lived off deep fried fish, chips, pork noodles and biscuits, so heart disease is a big problem there. I was very happy to see vegetables again when I returned.”
Mark and Barbara Lyon, Curator of Ephemera at the Alexander Turnbull Library show off two of the posters. All the posters will be added into the ephemera collection – the first time Tuvaluan items have gone into the collection.