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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.

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.

Proactive release of official information

The Department of Internal Affairs have proactively released Cabinet material regarding Tāhuhu (9.5MB, PDF).

The Department of Internal Affairs have proactively released papers - briefing and aide memoire - regarding the Tāhuhu Programme (3.5MB, PDF).

Projects

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.

Kia Rite

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.

Contact us

Stay in touch and keep up to date

If you have any questions, suggestions or feedback for the Tāhuhu Programme team, please email communications.tahuhu@dia.govt.nz

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