The end of history? Te Ara job losses a disappointing sign

News that the Ministry for Culture and Heritage is to significantly reduce the number of staff working on Te Ara, the online New Zealand encyclopaedia, is disappointing for all those interested in our country’s history, said the Public Service Association, the union representing Te Ara staff.

“Te Ara has developed into a fantastic resource for New Zealanders and others interested in our country’s heritage, and is one of the best publicly available places to find out about our Maori history,” said Brenda Pilott, PSA National Secretary.

“History does not finish, but rather is constantly being made, and Te Ara will be hard placed to keep up to date with a reduction in staff.

“Some Te Ara staff have worked for the Ministry and its predecessors for over 25 years, but it seems the loyalty they have shown and the hard work they have put in will no longer be reciprocated.

“Over 5 million people have visited Te Ara in the last 12 months, showing the immense value it holds.

“There is still time for the Ministry to reassess its decision before the current staff contracts end, and we urge it to do so to ensure the specialist skills and knowledge are not lost to the detriment of us all.

“Treating Te Ara as ‘just another website’ to be maintained would mean missing an opportunity to further build on and enhance this award winning taonga,” said Brenda Pilott.