Partnership to protect and conserve archival taonga celebrated

Mar 26, 2021

The Ngāi Tahu Archive Team and Te Rua Mahara o te Kāwanatanga Archives New Zealand have formally cemented their partnership with a celebration held at the Archives New Zealand facility in Ōtautahi today.

The partnership sees the Ngāi Tahu Archive team and most of their archival collections being based and stored at the state-of-the-art, purpose-built Archives New Zealand facility in Wigram. The Ngāi Tahu Archive comprises the collections of the Ngaitahu Maori Trust Board, the records of Te Rūnanga o Ngāi Tahu, and the personal papers of selected individuals. Under the new arrangement, the Ngāi Tahu collections will remain distinct from the Crown collections managed by Archives New Zealand. The Ngāi Tahu collections are stored separately within the shared facility and will continue to be cared for by the Ngāi Tahu archives team.

Today’s celebration was attended by representatives from Ngāi Tahu and Archives New Zealand. It acknowledged both parties’ commitment to the kaitiakitanga of the history of our land and people, and mātauranga Ngāi Tahu.

Tā Tipene O’Regan, chair of Te Pae Korako, the Ngāi Tahu Archive governance group, says: “If Ngāi Tahu want to be a tribal nation, if we truly want to own ourselves, we have to own our own memory. We have to be the primary proprietors of our own heritage and identity. This relocation is an important step in our development, and I sincerely thank Archives New Zealand for their continued support.

“When the Ngāi Tahu Archive was established in 1978, I could not have predicted how technology would advance and change the way we can access and store records. Our projects such as Kā Huru Manu, our Ngāi Tahu atlas, and Kareao, our archives database, have received international recognition and have been hugely successful in preserving our tribal memory. However, the process is iterative and there remains a huge amount still to do. Our next major challenge will be managing our extensive paper record.

“The team’s move into this Archives New Zealand facility provides us with the opportunity to build on the existing knowledge and dedication of our kaimahi to preserve and protect our people’s histories and heritage in the best possible way. This will ensure that our taoka (taonga) are safe and accessible to anyone who wants to see them.”

Stephen Clarke, Chief Archivist Kaipupuri Matua at Archives New Zealand, acknowledges the positive outcome of the partnership for both organisations.

“I’m delighted that the sharing of expertise, understanding and knowledge between Te Rūnanga o Ngāi Tahu and Archives New Zealand over a number of years has led us all to be here, today, acknowledging the importance of the taonga held in both collections in this wonderful, purpose-built archival facility.

“This is a wonderful example of the bicultural principles expressed in Te Tiriti o Waitangi in action, where a Crown agency is working alongside Ngāi Tahu to support the preservation and access to their taonga.”

Te Rūnanga o Ngāi Tahu Kaiwhakahaere Lisa Tumahai is excited about the opportunity that the partnership has for Ngāi Tahu whānau.

“To have the Ngāi Tahu Archive stored in the Archives New Zealand building means that our taonga are being protected and cared for under world-class conditions. Our taonga remain under our people’s ownership and are taken care of by our archives team. They will always be available for our whānau if they wish to access our records in person.

“I’m confident that current and future generations of our people will greatly benefit from this relationship.”
Stephen Clarke warmly invites whānau to Archives New Zealand.

“We are looking forward to welcoming whānau to our shared reading room.”

Ngāi Tahu whānau who are interested in viewing records from the collection are invited to visit the Archives New Zealand site. Until visiting hours can be established, manuhiri are asked to make an appointment with the Ngāi Tahu Archives team.