Digitisation of photographs continues

From left: Robyn Walsh, Rahui Denny and Dawn Kottier viewing and naming Te Waipounamu Girls College images.

From left: Robyn Walsh, Rahui Denny and Dawn Kottier viewing and naming Te Waipounamu Girls College images.

Work continues on the digitisation of print photographs held within the Ngāi Tahu Archives at Macmillan Brown Library, Canterbury University and at Te Rūnanga. To date, over 3,000 images have been saved in digital format and Archives Advisor, Tania Nutira says there are at least as many again to work through.

“We have a huge photographic resource and as we work through the digitisation, the images are saved on the Ngāi Tahu server with back-up images held on external hard-drives,” Tania says.

Occurring alongside the digitisation project is the identification of people, places and events that have been captured within the photographs. This is a time-consuming process and archives staff, with assistance from iwi members, have been systematically working through the photographs to capture information and record it before it is lost to the tribe. Since February this year, staff have also focused on quality control by reviewing the entries already recorded in the Archives spreadsheets, to ensure accuracy.

From left: Christine Denny, Maria Korako Tait and Karen Hubbard identifying images.

From left: Christine Denny, Maria Korako Tait and Karen Hubbard identifying images.

Tania says the current focus is on iwi photographs stored at Macmillan Brown Library to ensure they are saved for future generations.
“The identification of people and places within some of the photographs is often long and complicated. Generally we work with staff members who have institutional knowledge and we also call upon iwi members – especially kaumātua like Trevor Howse and Tā Tipene O’Regan who have extensive iwi knowledge,” says Tania.

“We’ve also gone out to individual rūnanga with the Cultural Mapping Team and spent time with whānau in the hope of identifying individuals in photographs. It’s a many-pronged approach and there have been occasions when we’ve received more than none name for an individual. In those cases, all the information is recorded. It’s not our job to correctly identify everyone – we just collect the data, which may later be used by the Whakapapa Unit.”

The digitisation project has been a strong focus for the Archives team for the last twelve months and will continue until all photographs in the Ngāi Tahu archive are safely stored for the future.