Quake prompts iwi to digitise records

Ngai Tahu chairman Mark Solomon.
Fairfax NZ
Ngai Tahu chairman Mark Solomon.

Ngai Tahu has made the digitisation of its important records a priority following the Canterbury earthquakes. 

Te Runanga o Ngai Tahu's digital scanning project, which includes backing up hard copy whakapapa records, is proceeding at pace kaiwhakahaere (chairman) Mark Solomon told Te Karaka.

"Shortly after the earthquakes, we had both our hard copy whakapapa records and our database secured but we did not have scanned copies. Now we are getting closer to completing this and I'm pleased this is the case.

"The whakapapa files were among the first batch of priority items retrieved from Te Waipounamu House after the February 22 earthquake and we were fortunate to have friends such as the Air Force Museum to help us store the volumes of whakapapa files securely," Solomon said.

The iwi aims to create scanned and digitised copies of the records, considered to be taonga, in the event of another natural disaster.

"I think the examples we saw during the earthquakes - of buildings severely damaged, access to legal documents stalled and the long wait for many industries in seeking files and valuables - means we have gained an exceptional insight into what can go wrong and what will go wrong when a disaster occurs.

"I'm pleased that this scanning project has arisen out of our desire to learn from the earthquakes and it may be that it sets a precedent for other iwi and indigenous peoples thinking about the archiving and safe-keeping of their own taonga."