What is Tāhuhu: Preserving the Nation’s Memory?
Tāhuhu: Preserving the Nation’s Memory (Tāhuhu) is a multi-year programme seeking to upgrade and expand the physical infrastructure, storage capacity, and digital support for Archives New Zealand and the National Library, with the possible inclusion of Ngā Taonga Sound and Vision.
If funding is allocated in Budget 2020, Tāhuhu will result in a new home for Archives Wellington, a new Regional Shared Repository building in the Lower North Island and upgrades to the National Library building.
Why is Tāhuhu necessary?
Archives New Zealand Te Rua Mahara o te Kāwanatanga and the National Library of New Zealand Te Puna Mātauranga o Aotearoa have been the official stewards or kaipupuri of our nation’s taonga and of Aotearoa’s record of government and documentary heritage since 1840.
Archives NZ and the National Library hold statutory responsibility to collect, preserve, protect and make accessible this documentary heritage for all New Zealanders, including whanau, hapu and iwi Māori.
This documentary heritage is integral to our country culturally, constitutionally, and economically. It helps to ensure government is held accountable and keeps our unique history alive so that we can pass on our culture, traditions, and heritage to future generations.
Archives NZ and the National Library are responsible for much of our nation’s documentary heritage, taonga and documentary history, with their collections valued at over $1.7 billion and growing. But over 60% of their buildings in the North Island are not fit-for-purpose.
Tāhuhu identifies and expands on the need for transformation so that Archives New Zealand and the National Library can effectively continue in their role as stewards of our nation’s taonga.
Tāhuhu is anticipated to take approximately six to seven years to complete.
Plans for a new Regional Shared Repository building in the Lower North Island have commenced this year and the Department are currently undertaking a site selection process for the purchase of land. Detailed designs for the new Archives Wellington facility have already begun.
A Controlled Atmosphere Room (cool store) at Auckland Archives for the transfer of collections from National Library off-site store is scheduled to be completed by the end of 2020.
If funding is secured in Budget 2020, construction on the new Wellington facility is expected to begin in 2021. Construction of the new Regional Shared Repository and upgrades to the National Library are expected to begin in 2022.
Tāhuhu plans to have all new facilities fully operational by 2027.
Heke Rua Archives
This project is responsible for a new purpose-built Archives facility in Wellington that reimagines the way that people interact with our collections and with each other. It will have physical connectivity by means of an air bridge with the National Library's Molesworth Street facility. This project is core to creating a new documentary heritage campus. The design will incorporate the need for storage, specialist facilities, office accommodation, and new collaborative ways of working. Targeted completion is 2024.
Heke Puna Library
This project is responsible for alterations to the current National Library facility in Molesworth Street. It includes changes to enable co-location and closer continued collaboration of National Library, Archives New Zealand and Ngā Taonga Sound and Vision across both buildings in the new documentary heritage campus. It also includes the completion of outstanding refurbishment work and alterations to permanently accommodate Ngā Taonga Sound and Vision.
Regional Shared Repository
This project aims to develop a fit-for-purpose and resilient facility outside of Wellington Central for Archives, the National Library and Ngā Taonga Sound and Vision. This involves the staged delivery of design, build, fit-out and the transfer of collections. The new facility is expected to accommodate capacity growth in physical records up to 2030 and beyond. This building will store low-use and digitised documentary and audiovisual heritage and taonga. The scope may look at the possible inclusion of other heritage sector institutions (e.g. Te Papa).
Wairere House Exit
This project is focussed on exit activities (National Library collections removed and relocated) from Wairere House in Whanganui; this current storage facility has been determined no longer fit-for-purpose. The heritage collections held here (consisting of newspapers, microfilms, photograph collections, are being relocated to National Library's Wellington repository and to Auckland Archives). The project is also tasked with the building of a new cool room (Controlled Atmosphere Room) at the Auckland Archives Regional Repository for the rehousing of these collections.
Archival Integrated Management System
This online project will deliver an Archival Integrated Management System (AIMS) that will replace the existing Archives New Zealand core systems for the future management and maintenance of our government archive. The AIMS project will enable information currently stored in five outdated databases and locations to combine into a single new in-depth access software.
Change Management/Te Puna Rua Collaboration
The change management work will identify and execute operational changes to enable a collaborative approach between Archives, the National Library, Ngā Taonga Sound and Vision at the new heritage campus. Tāhuhu provides a platform for collaboration and partnership with other institutions within the wider heritage sector (e.g. Te Papa).
This workstream focusses on business readiness. Logistics work is being undertaken to prepare the holdings and collections associated with their relocation into the new purpose-built facilities, Heke Rua Archives and the RSR. This involves labelling, reboxing where required, reshelving and ensuring the accuracy of the information held in the Archives collections and National Library.
Te Tiriti and Māori Partnerships
In line with the spirit of Te Tiriti o Waitangi, the underlying guiding principal adopted by the Department (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.
At Waitangi on 6 February 1840, just before each rangatira applied their tohu to Te Tiriti o Waitangi, Captain William Hobson said the words, “He iwi tahi tātou”. Since 1840, the common interpretation of these words has been “We are one people”. This year, at the 180th anniversary of the signing of Te Tiriti o Waitangi, in Waitangi, a correction to this interpretation was made and was offered to the Prime Minister Hon. Jacinda Ardern and her parliamentary colleagues by a prominent and respected Ngāti Hine elder, Te Waihoroi Shortland. The new and accurate interpretation is, “Together, we are a nation”.
The difference between the two interpretations may seem miniscule to some, but in fact, the new interpretation changes the way we should have developed and designed Aotearoa New Zealand under Te Tiriti o Waitangi, and that was ‘together’. The new interpretation of Hobson’s words, provide a fresh invitation to the Crown to work together with iwi Maori to design and develop our shared nation under Te Tiriti o Waitangi going forward.
Tāhuhu provides a further opportunity for the Treaty relationship to be enacted, put to the test and celebrated.
Over the next seven years, through Tāhuhu, there will be a number of significant opportunities for Archives New Zealand and the National Library to work together with iwi Māori on the development, design and delivery of a new documentary heritage hub. This will include more culturally relevant and effective systems and processes to support users who wish to engage with taonga within a matauranga Māori framework. 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.
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 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 Shared Repository which will replace ageing regional facilities and provide much needed additional storage capacity for Archives and the National Library.
Tāhuhu will need to secure new funding in Budget 2020 to continue to progress Tāhuhu to the build phase.
Does this mean public records transfers will be able to recommence?
If funding in Budget 2020 is secured 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?
The inclusion of Ngā Taonga Sound and Vision, which manages nearly one million audio-visual collection items, remains an option. This would support a truly connected and collaborative recorded heritage system.
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 29 June 2020