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Budget funding for historic records conversion

The Minister of Internal Affairs Mark Burton has announced funding for the conversion to electronic formats of the country's 4 million oldest paper-based birth, death and marriage registration records.

Since January 1998, every new registration has been made directly to a computerised system.

Conversion of six million records - birth and death records since 1935 and marriage records since 1951 - began in March 1999, and is on target for completion at the end of June 2001.

The new funding means the remaining four million records, dating back to 1848, can also be converted to a mix of images and data.

"One of the most significant benefits of converting the older records is that it enables these unique documents to be preserved for future generations," Mark Burton said.

"The historic paper registers are currently accessed on a daily basis. Once scanning is complete, these registers will be stored in the best possible conditions and preserved as part of the nation’s heritage.

"Anyone needing to access the historic information will then be able to use the electronic images and data index.

"Conversion of the bulk of the older records is expected to be complete within two years. The result will be a seamless computerised birth, death and marriage register for New Zealand. This will give some immediate gains in accessibility of the information, which is widely used for family and historical research.

“This is a significant step forward, both in terms of preserving our nation’s heritage and in paving the way for electronic government”, said Mark Burton.


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