Conservation of the He Tohu documents
He Tohu and the conservation considerations that went into the display of our precious taonga
The Public Records Act 2005 mandates us to the care and preservation of the record of our government. We make sure that the records of historical and cultural heritage of New Zealand are well looked after and preserved for the future.
Our holdings are estimated at over 7 million items. They take up 110,000 linear metres of shelving space in our archives across the country. That’s about 112 kilometres when laid out end to end. Our archives include paper documents from the 1700s to the present day. As well as bound material, paintings and works on paper, audio visual materials, photographs, maps and plans, microfilm and digital records.
Our preservation strategy focuses on records that are at high risk of loss or damage. This risk is due to deterioration of materials, or to the media becoming out of date and unreadable.
We work to reduce the need for preservation by maintaining our storage environment to suit the needs of our records. Measures are taken to slow the rate of decay of precious objects and protect them from damage. These include methods of environmental control, storage, handling, pest control, and disaster planning. These allow us more time to manage the preservation treatments required so that we minimise the loss of information.
Our team conserve records by assessing their condition, stabilising and treating them. This is in preparation for digitisation, exhibition, loan to other institutions, or for use by researchers in our reading rooms. Treatment of documents can include the removal of mould, the safe flattening of folded or rolled material, or repairs where material has suffered damage or decay. Our staff digitise records to make fragile items accessible to researchers, and to help protect them from any further damage which may come with handling.
You can contact the National Preservation Office for advice and guidance about the precious taonga in your collections.
We offer a vacuum freeze drying service to organisations for disaster recovery for books, files and documents. The freeze drying process is used globally for the rescue of documents and heritage materials. It removes the water by sublimation while the objects are under a vacuum.
Freezing the water damage before you dry the object gives more time for preservation decisions to be made. It also prevents any further damage from occurring. Wet items left unfrozen risk inks running, mould, and discolouration of fibres.
|Charge||Cost (Incl GST)|
|Consultative visits||$90 per half hour|
|Freeze dryer - machine hire||$235 per day + GST|
|Freeze dryer - associated labour||$75 per hour + GST|
To make an enquiry about this service, please contact us .
We welcome requests to loan items from our archives including the National Collection of War Art for use in public exhibitions in New Zealand and internationally.
If you wish to request a loan, please contact us with the details of the items you would like to borrow. We can do the preliminary checks for access or preservation restrictions, before you make a formal request to the Chief Archivist.
We do need plenty of notice for loans as preservation treatments can take a long time. Allow six months before the opening of your exhibition for this work.
You can view our loans policy here .