Plans for a new Archives facility to improve the protection of and access to some of New Zealand’s most significant and valuable documents were announced by Internal Affairs Minister Tracey Martin today.
“The plan we’re looking at would solve the issues with the existing Archives building by creating a new Archives facility that connects to the National Library,” Minister Martin says.
“We have a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to create a national documentary heritage campus. Together, Archives and the National Library are the stewards of our nation’s irreplaceable taonga, such as the Treaty of Waitangi and the Women’s Suffrage Petition. These collections are valued in excess of $1.7 billion and growing.”
The Minister said that Archives NZ, through the Department of Internal Affairs had been seeking funding to deal with problems with the current Wellington building for a number of years. Archives stopped taking transfers of documents to the building in 2017.
“The Wellington Archives building is over 50 years old and is at the end of its functional life. The building is full to capacity, has had leaks and requires significant upgrades, including seismic strengthening, which are uneconomic.”
Funding in this year’s Budget of $25.48 million over two years will allow progress on the design and resource consent planning for the new Archives Wellington building. It also allows planning to progress a new regional storage repository which will replace aging regional facilities and provide much needed additional storage capacity for Archives and the National Library.
“Having our documentary heritage stored safely in modern facilities, and our National Library and Archives New Zealand physically connected by an airbridge will give our unique documented history the place it deserves,” Mrs Martin says.
“This connection provides an opportunity for these two institutions to work even more collaboratively, in a campus-like situation helping us to pass on our culture, stories, traditions and heritage to future generations.
“The decision and funding also allows us to consider the possible inclusion of Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision, which manages nearly one million audiovisual collection items. This will support a truly connected and collaborative recorded heritage system.”
As well as the building funding, this year’s Budget also provided Archives an extra $9.623 million over 4 years to support the redevelopment of its archival management system, which is the core document tracking system for users to access archives.
“Our documentary heritage and taonga provides real value and insight to New Zealanders, increasing our sense of national and cultural identity," says the Minister.
“We need to preserve this history for our future generations and this new funding and project is a major step to ensuring this happens.”