The Department of Internal Affairs

Te Tari Taiwhenua | Department of Internal Affairs

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Department of Internal Affairs to review Archives New Zealand initiatives

19 December 2013

The Chief Executive of Internal Affairs Colin MacDonald announced today that a review has been initiated into the delivery of two Archives New Zealand initiatives.

The review is being carried out at the request of Internal Affairs Minister Chris Tremain.

The final stage of the Government Digital Archive initiative was stopped last week. Despite having delivered some of the benefits, it had become clear that all of the original scope could not be achieved.

“A second initiative has now come under the microscope at Archives New Zealand because it will not meet project deadlines. The Active Archives initiative was scheduled for completion by April 2014, but issues have been identified that mean this timeline is unachievable,” says Mr MacDonald.

Both projects remain within budget. The GDAP initiative has been stopped and there will be no further expenditure other than normal project closure costs. Further expenditure on Active Archives will depend on decisions on how the initiative proceeds.”

“The purpose of the review is to examine the circumstances surrounding these initiatives and the factors that have contributed to their current state. The review will also consider whether there are any changes that might be necessary to improve the management of any other initiatives in Archives New Zealand.”

It is expected that the review will:

  • examine, in respect of each initiative, how the issues arose and the cause
  • assess the capacity and capability of Archives New Zealand to carry out and implement its planned programmes and initiatives
  • identify and assess any opportunities and risks arising from the findings of the review
  • make any recommendations for change that are required to address any issues or problems identified
  • consider any other relevant issues, and make recommendations as how they should be addressed.
“I respect the excellent work done in Archives New Zealand and want to be sure that the professional staff there are supported. I will be carefully analysing the results of the review and reporting to the Minister on the results, “ says Mr MacDonald.

A reporting date will be set when the review is formally established.

Media contact:

Sandra Bennett | Information and Knowledge Services Account Manager | Communications
Direct dial: 0 4 495 6024 | Mobile: 027 839 1606

Background notes
  • Both initiatives are within budget.
  • There is no 'cost blow out'.
  • The Government Digital Archive initiative has succeeded in establishing the Digital Archive, and has so far added some 73,000 items (that’s 1,850,000 individual files) that the public can access online. The initiative has delivered tools, processes and capability to add, manage and preserve digital preservation copies. For example, records digitised as part of New Zealand’s World War One commemorations are being stored in the Government Digital Archive to ensure their on-going accessibility. This also applies to endangered audio and video documents stored on formats which are deteriorating with age and needed to be digitised to ensure the content is safe-guarded.

    The remaining task was to extend the Government Digital Archive so that it would be possible to send records of long term value created in digital format, i.e. born digital, into the digital archive. This part of the initiative cannot be delivered within the original budget, and the initiative has been stopped while we re-evaluate the available options to deliver this. Technology to manage digital formats has continued to develop while the programme has been underway, and other solutions are now available that may better meet our needs.
  • Find out what’s in the digital archive by checking out these links in Archway, Archives New Zealand’s online search engine:
  • The Active Archives initiative is based on providing modern preservation and conservation facilities for important historic documents, including the original 1840 Treaty of Waitangi and 1893 Women’s Suffrage Petition, in a new purpose-built area in the Molesworth Street building of the National Library. The solutions are intended to add hundreds of years to the life of the documents, and allow them to be displayed as safely as possible with minimal deterioration. The initiative has delivered plans and specifications, but is not running to the expected timetable, which would have allowed the documents to be moved next April. A new timeline and specific targets are being developed now.