Annual Report 2010-11

The following report covers the calendar year 2011. It is provided in accordance with section 15(3) of the Public Records Act 2005 which requires that the Council must report to the Minister each year on the performance of its functions during the preceding year.

 

Establishment and Functions

The Archives Council Te Rua Wānanga is an unincorporated body established under the Public Records Act 2005 (part 1, sections 14, 15 and 16). Its role is to provide advice to the Minister Responsible for Archives New Zealand on recordkeeping and archives matters generally, including those for which tikanga Māori is relevant. The Council also advises the Minister on authorisations to dispose of public records of Archives New Zealand, the approval of other repositories for public archives, and on appeals made to the Minister.

The Department of Internal Affairs (DIA) provides administrative services to the Archives Council.

Council Membership

The Council consists of seven members:

In accordance with section 14(3)(b) of the Public Records Act 2005, three Council members have knowledge of tikanga Māori.
Council members hold office for a term not exceeding three years and may be reappointed.

Meetings

The Council met on four occasions in 2011:

In addition it met on 30 September 2011 with members of the Library and Information Advisory Commission and The Guardians/Kaitiaki of the Alexander Turnbull Library.

Council Charter

In terms of section 16(1) of the Public Records Act 2005 the Archives Council “may regulate its own procedure”. To this end the Council has adopted a Council Charter which is annexed to this Report. It is also available electronically at http://archives.govt.nz/council-charter.

Activities During the Past Year

Integration with Department of Internal Affairs

On 1 February 2011 Archives New Zealand, with the National Library, was merged into the Department of Internal Affairs. The Chief Archivist, Greg Goulding, now reports to the Deputy Chief Executive of the Knowledge, Information, Research and Technology (KIRT) branch of the Department, and to the Chief Executive.
2011 has been a shake-down year for the integrated Department which will continue in 2012, with many changes of structures and personnel. Other changes include the rewriting of the Department's Statement of Intent and the formulation of new business plans, including for Archives New Zealand. The Council was reassured by the appointment of an experienced archivist, Greg Goulding, as Chief Archivist and by your predecessor's assurance that the statutory functions of the Chief Archivist set out in the Public Records Act 2005 and the purposes of that Act, will be preserved in the new structure. Similarly the role of Archives New Zealand remains intact. The Council, however, continues to be concerned by the relatively low positioning of the Chief Archivist within the new structure, and the effect that this may have on the performance of the position's duties across the whole of government, national and local. The Council is also concerned with how Archives New Zealand's constitutional position and identity within New Zealand is perceived and understood.
The Council is pleased that the traditional functions of Archives New Zealand have continued as normal throughout 2011, a tribute to the professionalism and dedication of the staff. The Council is appreciative also of the briefings on various issues given to us by senior officers from the Department.

Key Issues for Council Consideration in 2011

The Council wrote to your predecessor on 23 May 2011 identifying some key issues it would focus on during the year, as follows:

These were constant themes for the Council's deliberations through 2011 and have been addressed as follows:

Digital Technology and Information

The Council has been informed regularly on progress establishing the Government Digital Archive, which will be an essential component for Archives New Zealand to provide services across the public sector and to the general public. This is particularly important given the government's commitment to fund this archive by $12.5 million over three years. This forms part of the wider Digital Continuity Action Plan, on which the Council has also been briefed. Under the Plan Archives New Zealand's record-keeping standards and training programmes are helping public offices and local authorities to manage their records effectively and to target high risk information.
The digitisation of high use materials has proceeded in 2011 with good progress made on the digitisation of military personnel files, notably World War I records. This will be important for the 1914 centenary.
Given the substantial information technology resources within the Department of Internal Affairs along with those of the National Library, the merger should boost the digital strategy to protect New Zealand's documentary heritage and to provide easier public access to it. Indeed, it is in this area that the Council anticipates most benefits from the merger are likely to accrue.

A Shared Services Delivery Proposal

At our meeting on 17 August we were informed by the Deputy Chief Executive of KIRT branch and the Chief Archivist of KIRT and Archives NZ's initiatives and business plans for 2011-2012. These included a proposal to leverage the development of the Molesworth Street building to create a new integrated service for customers of Archives New Zealand, the National Library and Alexander Turnbull Library, comprising a greater shared services/visitor experience at Molesworth, improving digitisation initiatives and online resources and maximisation of storage.
As I wrote to your predecessor on 30 September, following a meeting of members of the Archives Council, Library and Information Advisory Commission and the Guardians/Kaitiaki of Alexander Turnbull Library with DIA officials, “strategically and in principle” the Council is supportive of the direction of the proposed changes towards shared services, which is in line with the first two key issues in our letter to the Minister of 23 May 2011. As it stood then, the proposal was not developed in some, and under-developed in other, crucial areas including the test of rigorous cost benefit analysis and Archives New Zealand's role in the custodianship of the Treaty of Waitangi in the new Constitution Room. We understand this work is being done.
If it proceeds this will be a major rearrangement of government services and a significant early test of the benefits of the Department of Internal Affairs mergers.

Responsiveness to Māori needs and interests

In terms of the Public Records Act 2005, Section 14(3), after consultation with the Minister of Māori Affairs and the Chief Archivist, you appoint at least two members of the Council who have knowledge of tikanga Māori. Three current members are so qualified. The Council has been concerned to ensure that with integration “strategic directions in archiving and ICT are responsive to Māori needs and interests” and that there should be no dilution of the strengths that Archives New Zealand has built up in its engagement with Māori.
At the time of integration (1 February 2011), there was no reference as to how the Māori related functions and Māori specialist roles would be structured and operate across the Department of Internal Affairs. In October a Terms of Reference for a ‘Review of Māori Related Functions' (in DIA) was promulgated. At the time of writing this review is on-going. Decisions on how responsiveness to Māori will be handled within Archives New Zealand in the future are on hold pending the outcome of the DIA review.
On 3 November the Council met with members of Te Pae Whakawairua (Archives New Zealand's expert Māori advisory committee) to obtain their views on the review and also on the ‘Shared Services Delivery Proposal'. On both matters their and our concerns are common. We trust that those ultimately responsible for taking decisions on these fundamental issues viz the DIA Executive Leadership Team and Chief Executive will heed the expert commentary and advice of external advisers including Te Pae Whakawairua.

Visit to Auckland

In 2010 the Council sought information on the archives and record-keeping implications of Auckland's local government reorganisation. It followed up with a two day visit to Auckland on 18-19 May, our second meeting outside Wellington. We met with personnel responsible for:

Following are some Council observations from the Auckland meetings and a subsequent report on Manukau records:

 

Other Issues

Audit of public offices

The Chief Archivist and his staff have kept the Council informed of Archives New Zealand's audit of public offices mandated by sections 32-35 of the Public Records Act 2005. This programme, a world first, is well into its second year, with 38 agencies audited in the first year and 45 scheduled for the second. Results are mixed but the responses from most agencies have been positive. Greater detail may be found in the Chief Archivist's own report to Parliament.

Christchurch Earthquakes

At meetings during the year the Council, on its own initiative, has received up-to-date briefings on the impact of the earthquakes on the Archives New Zealand's repository, other government agencies and community institutions. While much archival material has been salvaged and moved to temporary storage, some agencies have experienced considerable loss. The Ministry of Culture and Heritage has been asked by The Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Authority (CERA) to draw up a recovery and restoration plan for the whole heritage sector including archives. A significant challenge in the future will be the provision of secure storage. A co-operative approach amongst institutions, as being considered in Auckland, would seem the most appropriate way forward.

National Preservation Office

The Council was briefed on the structure of and plans for the National Preservation Office (NPO) by its Field Conservator, Vicki-Anne Heikell. The NPO is based in the National Library but works closely with Archives New Zealand (especially in relation to community archives) and Te Papa on conservation issues. The Council assured Ms Heikell of its continuing interest in the work of the NPO, which is an activity where demand for its services, especially advice and training in the regions and amongst Māori groups, is growing. It is an under-resourced area that could perhaps benefit from the DIA integration.

Funding and Secretariat Services

Funds for the operation of the Council are provided from the budget of Archives New Zealand. The Council expresses its appreciation to the Chief Archivist, Greg Goulding, for his assistance with the Council's deliberations during the year, and to Marina Kerschbaumer, our Secretary.

Expenditure Items

 

Expense  Expenditure
Remuneration $11,369.73
Travel of members $9,227.87
Other (catering, accommodation, representation) $2,608.66
Total  $23,206.26

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Richard Nottage
Chairperson, The Archives Council
February 2012