Memory of the World / Nga Mahara o Te Ao

The UNESCO New Zealand Memory of the World Committee / Te Komiti o Aotearoa mo Nga Mahara o te Ao is now asking for nominations for Aotearoa/New Zealand documentary heritage to be inscribed on the UNESCO Aotearoa/New Zealand Memory of the World Register.  Information including the nomination form is at .

The nominations to the New Zealand register close on Tuesday 15 November 2011.

New inscriptions to the register will be decided by Monday 28 November and an announcement made on the successful inscriptions.

A successful nomination will raise the profile of your institution and the work that you do to preserve documentary heritage.

 What is Memory of the World?

UNESCO launched the Memory of the World programme in 1992 to guard against collective loss of awareness of documentary heritage. Memory of the World aims to recognise significant documentary heritage in a similar fashion to the way UNESCO’s World Heritage Convention and World Heritage List recognises significant natural and cultural sites.

Countries may develop their own national registers. The most significant items can also be nominated for inscription on the international or regional Memory of the World Registers.

 What is happening in New Zealand?

The New Zealand National Commission for UNESCO supports the Aotearoa/New Zealand Memory of the World Committee / Te Komiti o Aotearoa mo Nga Mahara o te Ao to coordinate nominations for the register of New Zealand documentary heritage. The first inscriptions to the Aotearoa/New Zealand register were announced on 30 June 2011.

Two collections of documentary heritage were inscribed on the New Zealand register in June 2011. The nomination forms for these collections are on the website and provide an exemplar for submissions.

What can be nominated?

To be selected for registration on the New Zealand Memory of the World Register the documentary heritage should:

  •  be unique and irreplaceable (in that it has demonstrable historic, aesthetic or cultural significance to a community or the nation)
  • be a primary or significant source that documents an historical or cultural event that has had a lasting impact and influenced the course of New Zealand history
  • be an outstanding example of a document or an  experience

Documentary heritage can be digital or analogue. Examples include but are not limited to textual items such as documents, manuscripts, books, newspapers, posters and non-textual items such as photographs, films, discs, drawings, prints, maps; online media items, social media databases, mobile digital devices etc


For enquiries or more information, please visit , or contact us at If you would like to receive further information about the New Zealand Memory of the World Register, please email a request to subscribe.

Jill Durney
Macmillan Brown Library Manager
University of Canterbury – Te Whare Wananga o Waitaha


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