Minister for Local Government David Carter praised the collaborative efforts of councils within the Horizons Region at the official opening of the new Archives Central building on Thursday October 4.
Over 70 people gathered for the event at the old Coach House Museum building in Feilding where archives from the Manawatu, Rangitikei, Tararua, Horowhenua and Horizons Regional Councils are now housed.
The central facility is part of a project led by Manawatu-Wanganui Shared Services Ltd (MW LASS) to make archives more accessible and is supported by online database www.archivescentral.org.nz which lists records from all eight of the region’s councils.
"It [Archives Central] is a great achievement and something the region can be proud of," Minister David Carter said.
"Through collaboration you’ve been able to achieve far more than you would as individual councils. Through collaboration you are bringing this history to life not only for yourselves but for historians, geneologists, for teachers, the general public but probably most important of all, for future generations.
"I am certain that with the formation of Manawatu-Wanganui Local Authority Shared Services Ltd collaboration in this region will continue to grow," he said.
Manawatu Mayor Margaret Kouvelis also spoke at the event where she welcomed guests to Feilding and described Archives Central as "a significant historical resource and first for local government archives".
"This place is a public facility where access to displays and opportunities for educational visits can occur and it reduces the movement of archives around the region.
"Not only does it fulfill council requirements under the public records act, it ensures that our records are preserved for the future while remaining accessible today."
The facility at 40 Bowen Street in Feilding was blessed by representatives from NgÄti Raukawa on Wednesday October 3 and will be open to the public between 1pm and 5pm Tuesday to Friday from Friday October 5.
However, people don’t have to visit the facility itself, requests can also be made by phone or email, with archivists able to scan and send information to anyone who may need it.
Archives are stored in a temperature-controlled, windowless room within the facility to prolong their life and archivists will continue to add listings to the online database.
Councils from outside the region have also been invited to list their holdings on Archives Central’s online database and it is hoped over time this will become a hub for location government archiving in New Zealand.
MW LASS officer Suzanne Craig said there are no records later than 1989 stored at the Archives Central building and they now have a project running to identify what from the huge bulk of more recent records should be preserved.
"But even more important are those archives which are born digital, which will never be in paper format. Preserving these records is an immense challenge and one in which collaboration will be even more important to achieve success," she said.
More information about the archives, council listings and the councils involved in this project is available on the Archives Central website www.archivescentral.org.nz
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