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Strengthening our national archives and libraries

A new programme of work is underway to strengthen the contribution our national archives and libraries can make to New Zealand’s culture and democracy, Internal Affairs Minister Tracey Martin and the Associate Minister for Arts, Culture and Heritage Grant Robertson said on Wednesday.

“The National Library of New Zealand, Archives New Zealand and the audio-visual archive Ngā Taonga Sound and Vision have vital roles in our democratic and cultural infrastructure,” says Grant Robertson.

“Tracey Martin and I are leading the work programme to consider options to help these institutions to better meet the challenges they’re facing and to take advantage of the opportunities that a digital environment and fresh thinking might provide.

“Our guiding objectives are to ensure:

  •  these institutions support an accountable, open and transparent democracy
  •  records documenting New Zealand’s history and culture are collected and preserved as taonga for current and future generations, and are as accessible as possible for all New Zealanders, and
  •  the memory of the New Zealand government is managed and preserved for future generations.

“While these three national archival and library institutions have distinct roles they have much in common, including storing and preserving physical collections, managing digital information and increasing access to information through digitisation,” Grant Robertson said.

Tracey Martin said the costs associated with the physical storage of the various library and archival material was a major pressure on the institutions, so it made sense to look at the value of their work to the country as well as how they could better work together. 

Maintaining the independence of the Chief Archivist in New Zealand’s constitutional framework would be a key consideration of this work.

“The Chief Archivist sets the framework for government recordkeeping and for regulating the creation and disposal of public records,” Tracey Martin said.

 “We will specifically consider options to ensure the Chief Archivist has sufficient independence to be an effective regulator of the public sector.

 “This is important work and we will be talking with stakeholders with an interest in our national archival and library institutions to inform this process.”

The terms of reference for the work programme are available on the Manatū Taonga Ministry for Culture and Heritage website and the Department of Internal Affairs website. Recommendations on the future of the three institutions are expected to go to Cabinet in the first half of 2019.

The stakeholder engagement questions are available here.

2019 update

Proactive release of submissions received through public consultation process

The Department of Internal Affairs has released the submissions received through the stakeholder engagement process from July to August 2018, and the Summary of Submissions which was provided to Ministers.

The submissions are categorised on Department of Internal Affairs' website by sector.

The Summary of Submissions notes that 145 submissions were received. This figure does not include the submissions from the Chief Archivist, the National Librarian and Chief Librarian, and the Board of Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision.

Further information will be published on DIA's website as information becomes available. 


Updated on 7th March 2019