What is Tāhuhu: Preserving the Nation’s Memory?
Tāhuhu: Preserving the Nation’s Memory (Tāhuhu) is a programme which includes the upgrade and construction of modern, purpose-built facilities designed to ensure New Zealand’s documentary heritage is preserved and protected across Archives New Zealand (Archives), the National Library of New Zealand (National Library) and Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision (Ngā Taonga).
This Programme provides a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to create a national documentary heritage campus within the Parliamentary precinct and build more resilience across the sector.
Why is Tāhuhu needed?
The Tāhuhu Programme grew out of a property review conducted by the Department of Internal Affairs. The review identified over 60% of Archives and National Library buildings in the North Island are not fit-for-purpose. Archives Wellington has been full since 2017 and the National Library will be close to capacity by 2030.
Tāhuhu timeline: Key milestones
Kaipupuri of our nation’s documentary heritage and taonga
Archives and the National Library are the official stewards or kaipupuri of our nation’s documentary heritage and taonga, valued at $1.5 billion and growing. DIA on behalf of the Crown have statutory responsibilities to collect, preserve, protect and make accessible this heritage for all New Zealanders.
Together, the valuable collections include government records, publications, books, manuscripts, artwork, scientific data, images, films and much more. Across the entire portfolio, these physical records total over 271,000 linear metres (271km) and are continually growing through transfers of public records from public sector organisations, donations to the Alexander Turnbull Library and purchases of New Zealand taonga.
Te Tiriti and Māori Partnerships
The Tāhuhu Programme is guided by the principles of Tiriti o Waitangi – partnership, participation and protection. These underpin the relationship between the Crown and Māori. The Tāhuhu Programme will engage with mana whenua and iwi Māori as we transform, strengthen and future-proof Aotearoa New Zealand’s documentary heritage and taonga.
The underlying guiding principal adopted by DIA for the development and delivery of the He Tohu exhibition in 2017 was ‘partnership’. The Department took some bold steps into a largely unknown and untested space to do their best to ensure that partnership with iwi Māori was considered and invested in.
Tāhuhu provides a further opportunity for the Treaty relationship to be enacted, put to the test and celebrated.
The Tāhuhu team, look forward to working together with iwi Māori on this important and exciting programme of work, which will transform the way, we as a nation, collect, preserve and make available our nations collective memories.
Heke Rua Archives (HRA)
A new resilient purpose-built Archives facility in Wellington will house and protect our memory of government and taonga to best practice standards and provide specialist facilities for conservation and digitisation at scale. The building will be connected with the National Library by an air-bridge which allows for easy transfers between buildings and better collaboration across the heritage campus.
Heke Puna Library (HPL)
Alterations to the current National Library building will enable co-location and greater collaboration between Archives, National Library and Ngā Taonga. This project is also core to the creation of a vibrant new campus-like setting where visitors can access and learn about our nation’s recorded and documentary heritage with three of these major institutions in one place.
Regional Shared Repository (RSR)
A fit-for-purpose, resilient and sustainable facility in the lower North Island, the RSR will provide specialist preservation storage across the National Library, Ngā Taonga and Archives with the potential for wider sector use. This involves the acquisition of a suitable piece of land and the delivery of design, build, fit-out and the transfer of collections to the new facility. This facility will store low use and digitised documentary and audio-visual heritage and taonga. It will also enable Archives to recommence transfers of government records.
Archival Integrated Management System (AIMS)
The AIMS project is taking the existing data from Archives four online systems – Archway, ALF, CV and Preservation databases and combining these into one collections system. This means we’re mapping over a billion data points from the four current systems into one new collections system. Because our data is about taonga tuku iho it is stored on-shore in Auckland to ensure data sovereignty.
AIMS has partnered with Axiell Pty Ltd to develop the new Collections system. The Collections system is a configurable off-the-shelf product that is used around the world by Archives, Libraries and Museums.
Wairere House Exit (WHE)
Wairere House, an offsite storage facility for the National Library in Whanganui is at the end of its economic life and requires significant investment to maintain it to a level suitable for the storage of Alexander Turnbull Library collections. To continue to safeguard the collections, they are being relocated to suitable repository spaces within Auckland and Wellington facilities. This includes a new purpose-built controlled atmosphere room in Auckland Archives to store aerial prints and microfilm and the relocation of newspaper collections to National Library Wellington facilities.
Te Puna Rua Collaboration (TPRC)
This change work will identify and lead operational changes to enable a collaborative approach and new ways of working between Archives, the National Library and Ngā Taonga. Tāhuhu also provides a platform for collaboration and partnership with other institutions within the wider heritage sector.
This workstream focusses on business readiness. Logistics work is underway to prepare the holdings and collections associated with their relocation into the new purpose-built facilities, Heke Rua Archives and the Regional Shared Repository. This involves labelling, reboxing where required, reshelving and ensuring the accuracy of the information held in the Archives and National Library collections. By creating secure packaging and accurate data we not only ensure the protection of our holdings, but also increase accessibility for staff and the public for years to come.
Stay in touch and keep up to date
If you have any questions, suggestions or feedback for the Tāhuhu Programme team, please email firstname.lastname@example.org
Frequently asked questions
Why do we need a new Wellington Archives building?
The existing Archives facility at 10 Mulgrave Street in Wellington is at full capacity. It is also at the end of its economic life and is no longer fit-for-purpose. There are several building issues that compromise its ability to effectively preserve our documentary heritage over the long term.
Since 2017 due to the lack of reliable infrastructure, Archives Wellington repository suspended its transfer programme of physical documents.
The decision to build a new facility follows two years of planning and analysis. The Aitken Street site was identified as an ideal location, and a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to create a documentary heritage hub within the Thorndon area, sharing services and being co-located with the National Library.
Isn’t it cheaper to refurbish and upgrade the current Wellington Archives building and site?
Refurbishment is not practical or financially viable for the existing 10 Mulgrave Street building. A complete rebuild would be necessary, and at a higher overall cost. This would also require the holdings to be moved twice, increasing risk to the collections and creating greater interruption to service delivery.
How will Tāhuhu improve digital access to documents?
Archives New Zealand Te Rua Mahara o te Kāwanatanga has partnered with Axiell , the world’s leading supplier of software to the cultural sector, to manage their unique archives.
Archives New Zealand will replace Archway, their collection management and search tool, with Axiell Collections so staff can work more efficiently, and New Zealanders can more easily discover, access and view the nation’s documentary heritage, taonga and public archives.
Digitisation enables equitable access to records to more people when and where they want it and assist the preservation of the original item. Tāhuhu will provide new digitisation facilities in the Archives Wellington building to ramp up digitisation and improve the digital delivery of services.
Will all our documentary heritage be digitised?
Digital services are an important part of our future and we are working hard to improve how the public access our documentary heritage online. However, there is still a vast number of paper documents that have already been created which need to be transferred to our care.
Archives are records, selected for their enduring value, which are kept in perpetuity. There will always be a need for the physical storage of and access to our collections and holdings. We anticipate the demand for physical storage will remain steady to 2030.
What will it cost?
Funding in Budget 2019 of $25.48 million over two years allowed progress on the design and resource consent planning for the new Archives Wellington building. It also allowed planning to progress a new Regional Shared Repository which will replace ageing regional facilities and provide much needed additional storage capacity for Archives and the National Library.
Budget 2020 funding allowed for a new home for Archives Wellington, land purchase and design for a new Regional Shared Repository in the lower North Island, and the detailed design for National Library alterations to enable greater collaboration across the three heritage organisations and to permanently accommodate Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision.
Does this mean public records transfers will be able to recommence?
The construction of the new Archives facility will be completed in late 2024. It is anticipated that transfers would recommence shortly after.
Will Tāhuhu include Ngā Taonga Sound and Vision?
Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision, which manages nearly one million audio-visual collection items, will be included in the heritage campus, supporting a truly connected and collaborative recorded heritage system.
A new specialised storage facility in Levin will help to meet the growing needs of the National Library of New Zealand, Archives New Zealand and Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision
We welcome a new partnership with Axiell, the world’s leading supplier of software to the cultural sector, to manage our unique archives.
Last modified on 26 January 2021