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Culturally Significant Audiovisual Taonga Preserved In Cross-archival Digitisation Project

An event celebrating the successful launch of the Utaina project is taking place on 17 November in Wellington. The event will be attended by Minister of Internal Affairs Hon Jan Tinetti, Associate Minister for Arts, Culture and Heritage, Hon Kiritapu Allan, and Memnon CEO, Heidi Shakespeare.

“Utaina is a really important, government-funded, project to safeguard our unique sound and video recordings that are reminders of who we are and where we have come from,” says Rachel Esson, Te Pouhuaki National Librarian.

“When you factor in the global pandemic and the logistics of Memnon bringing a specialist AV preservation facility from Europe to New Zealand, the progress to date has been impressive. The expertise being passed on to New Zealand kaimahi employed as a result of this project is also invaluable.”

Since its launch in mid-2022, the project to digitally preserve our nation’s precious sound and video recordings has already safeguarded some rich and colourful moments in our nation’s history.

With more than $40 million in government funding through Budget 2020, the Utaina project is a collaboration between Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision, the National Library and Archives New Zealand to digitise more than 460,000 items in the Crown’s audiovisual (AV) heritage collections.

Since May, the first tranche of work has involved digitising Ngā Taonga items held at Motutawa, the archive facility in Lower Hutt where the Utaina project is based. Memnon have established a preservation digitisation facility close by in the Avalon Studios complex.

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“The collections we hold are a valuable record of the diverse history of Aotearoa, and the digital preservation of this Crown-owned content guarantees that these precious taonga are here for future generations to enjoy,” says Honiana Love, Tumu Whakarae Chief Executive of Ngā Taonga.

“The majority of the collection digitised to date is from the TVNZ archives that Ngā Taonga manages on behalf of the Ministry for Culture and Heritage. This collection captures important experiences of New Zealanders through the decades, including unique events and defining moments in our nation’s history.”

Digitisation of National Library items started in mid-October with Archives NZ items starting earlier this month.

Memnon has almost 20 years’ experience in the large-scale digitisation of audio and video assets for libraries, universities, broadcasters, museums and government organisations around the world.

Ngā Taonga is providing approximately 350,000 original AV items in various formats, the National Library 106,000 and Archives New Zealand 10,500 items.

Utaina is expected to be completed in 2025.


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