New Zealand’s history at risk in Ngā Taonga relocation plans

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Decades of institutional knowledge will be lost if the government presses ahead with plans to centralise New Zealand’s audio and video archives, the PSA says.

Ngā Taonga Sound and Vision is proposing to move its sound archive from Christchurch to the TVNZ Archives site in the Hutt Valley, with potential job losses.

"The PSA is deeply disappointed to hear of these plans, which may lead to a potentially significant loss of specialist knowledge", PSA National Secretary Erin Polaczuk says.

"We understand there has been little consultation with the wider heritage sector, which is concerned about the fragility of the archive, and the expertise needed to administer it."

PSA members in Christchurch have unanimously spoken out against the proposals, which go against promises to keep the Sound Archive there when it was merged with the National Film Archive.

They also feel their 18 months of hard and dedicated work to recover the archives in the wake of the Canterbury earthquakes - which won international praise - has been disrespected and ignored.

Staff are also concerned at the plans to centralise the service in Wellington, where increased seismic activity would put the safety of these precious records at risk.

"This is yet another example of good, stable jobs being lost in the regions," Ms Polaczuk says.

"This is the third round of restructuring in the four years since the Film and Sound archives merged, and the impact on staff can’t be underestimated.

"They love their jobs and take their responsibility as curators of our history extremely seriously.

"We call on the Board of Trustees and the Ministry of Culture and Heritage to urgently reconsider this proposal."