Tag Archives: archives

Sounds of Lost Christchurch

Like many Christchurch inhabitants, Sound Archives Nga Taonga Korero was forced out of its home by the earthquakes of September 2010 and February 2011. Radio New Zealand House on the corner of Chester Street West and Durham St was damaged and has now been demolished and the Archives moved to temporary premises while a new permanent home is sought.

Within our collection we have many recordings which capture events and everyday moments in Christchurch locations that no longer exist – or have been changed forever by the seismic activity.

Spectrum – A Kind of Square Programme 1987
The Cathedral dominates the square but it’s the people who congregate there who make it the living hub of Christchurch. Jack Perkins explores Cathedral Square. This programme won a Mobil Radio Award. (duration: 27′35″)
Christchurch City Movie theatres
All seven of the inner city movie theatres mentioned in this 1953 promotional recording have now disappeared from the CBD. (duration: 1′25″)
The Clarendon Hotel and Wynford Vaughan-Thomas 1954
Crowds and broadcasters wait for Her Majesty the Queen to arrive at The Clarendon Hotel, 18 January 1954. (duration: 8′17″)
3ZB live commentary on VE Day
3ZB live report of celebrations in Cathedral Square on V.E. Day 1945. (duration: 6′33″)
Springbok Tour protests
Springbok Tour protests Christchurch 1981. (duration: 10′27″)
Queen Elizabeth II Park and Pool
This sporting complex was built for the 1974 Commonwealth Games and held many happy memories for those who took part, either as athletes or supporters. (duration: 7′34″)
The Civic Theatre, Manchester Street
The acoustics of the Civic Theatre and its organ were captured in this recording of a talent show performance, recorded in 1951. ‘Southern Cross’ by William Gray. Unidentified female vocalist with organ accompaniment by Ken Boniface. (duration: 3′37″)
Cathedral bells on birth of Prince Charles 1948
The bells of ChristChurch Cathedral ring out to mark the birth of Prince Charles in 1948. (duration: 2′25″)

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Filed under Archives, Canterbury Quake, Collections, Focus On

High Street, City Mall, 1980s

From the Christchurch City Archives collection, courtesy Eva.

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Recently I had the opportunity to attend a short but very interesting talk in Timaru on foxing by Neil Andrews from the Biological Sciences at the Canterbury University, whose specialist area is Scanning Electron Microscopy (SEM).  Neil uses the SEM to look at the surface of things, easily including samples as small as 3 microns like the spores he used to illustrate his talk.

Having never looked into foxing before Neil’s interest was piqued when his brother, a local philatelist, brought foxed stamps to his attention.  The talk began with a look at the microscopic construction of stamps, views of the differences of rag and wood-pulp fibres.  But the fascinating part for me was yet to come.  As a result of his initial interest Neil looked more closely at several samples of foxing, including samples from within his own personal library – probably little different from many other library collections including our own.  His initial research led him to understand there were two types of foxing – ferric oxide or rusting and fungal growth.  Of the samples he viewed he found only fungal growth.

When looking at his foxing sample he discovered dead fungal matter with broken hyphae (the long tubular bits), what appeared to be broken growth nodes and few fruiting bodies (i.e. the bits with the nasty spores).  Here comes the fascinating bit – he then checked a control area, a piece of clean page without any evidence of foxing.  The surface was covered in strands of live hyphae with active fruiting bodies covering a surface ‘like a forest’ – see the adjacent image for one of the less spectacular examples he displayed.  As a result Neil’s instinctive conclusion was that foxing was actually caused by dead fungi, not live growths.  He does caution though that it certainly needs more work and that he would like to plate out some of the infected pages, put some names to the fungi and verify the infection viability.

Foxing fungi

Neil also discussed how fungi are everywhere – i.e. don’t kid yourself you’re not surrounded by the stuff.  I don’t want to dwell on examples, but he has even found it in aviation fuel – so its almost assured its endemic in all our paper stuff.  Just think of that lovely (some heathens say slightly musty) smell that greets us every time we enter our stores or open those old books.  After all, we all know storage environments – which theoretically are around 19 degrees and 50% RH in our archives – are not going to stop decay, just slow it down.  It won’t be so dry as to kill the fungi, but hopefully is enough to arrest its development.  Neil’s talk reminded me though that recently we’ve had issues in our archives store with the humidity dropping lower than desirable – was I risking killing the fungi and causing an outbreak of foxing?  Probably not (it didn’t get that low), but Neil’s talk did give me something of a start.

Neil expects to repeat his talk to Christchurch philatelist, but the details are yet to be confirmed.

Images supplied by Neil Andrews, Canterbury University.

Tony Rippin
Curator of Documentary History
South Canterbury Museum
Timaru District Council

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Filed under Archives, Books, Collections, Learning

Christmas closures

The Methodist Church of NZ Archives at 25 Latimer Square, Christchurch, will be closed from Tuesday 14 December 2010, re-opening Tuesday 11 January 2011.  The archivist will be away over this period, so no written enquiries will be answered either.
Our usual opening hours are Tuesday mornings 9-12.30, other times by prior arrangement.

Akaroa Museum is closed on Christmas Day.
Otherwise, open every day for researchers (genealogy and others) from 10.30 am to 4.30 pm.

The Documentary Research Centre at Canterbury Museum will be closed from Christmas day and will re-open on 5 January 2011.
The rest of the Museum will be open every day except Christmas Day, including The Heart of the Great Alone, our special touring exhibition in the Robert McDougall Gallery.

The Macmillan Brown Library will be closed from 23 December to 4 January inclusive.  Reopening 5 January.

New Zealand Historic Places Trust Southern Regional Office will close 1pm Friday 24th December and reopen 9am Wednesday 5th January.

Christchurch City Council archives will hopefully be open in the New Year.  The date at this stage is 18 January 2011 but this could change.

The Anglican Archives will close on Wednesday 22 December at noon.
We  will be open on Wednesday 26th January, but not on Wednesday 2 February, and then back again for the year on Wednesday 9th February. Written enquiries will be attended to.

Christ’s College Archives will close on Tuesday 21 December at 4.30pm and reopen again on Tuesday 21 January.  It will not be open on  February  3rd and 8th, but from February 10th we will be back again for the year.
Written enquiries will continued to be attended to.

Air Force Museum of New Zealand – Reading Room. The Research facilities at Wigram will be closed from Christmas Day and re-open on the 5th January.
The Museum will be closed on Christmas Day only. Admission is free!

Sumner Redcliffs Historical Society The Sumner Museum has re-opened and we are open 1.45 p.m. to 3.45 p.m. on Saturdays except over Christmas and New Year.

Archives New Zealand (Christchurch Regional Office) will close at midday on Christmas Eve and resume normal hours on the 5th January.


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Post-quake roundup

Many of you will be concerned about your friends and colleagues following the earthquake on 4 September 2010.  Here is a summary of the messages Cantage has received since the quake. The varying degrees of damage are astounding, from relatively little damage to buildings being completely demolished.  If you would like your organisation to be included here or have an update, please email cantagegroup@gmail.com.

Kaiapoi Museum – the building has been demolished.  The collection was packed into two containers. Staff from Don Woods  plus a few Kaiapoi members are to safely  repack material  from the two containers, and Don woods will then transport the articles to their safe storage in Christchurch to await further instructions from the council or their insurers. They have already done this with the council archives which were stored in the Kaiapoi library building.

Cust Museum – some internal cracks to the walls but otherwise is OK.  Only one plate was broken thanks to the quake wax that we had under most things and all our display cabinets being well secured to walls.

Methodist Archives –  a few shelves of books on the floor and a couple of boxes down, but otherwise all seems intact.

Radio New Zealand Sound Archives –  some things fell over in the office and studio areas: a few computer monitors and PCs, but no damage reported there. Our mass storage system is good and offsite backups are up to date with confirmed restore tests. The archive was not too bad, actually, we are very lucky. We had quite a few objects fall off the shelves upstairs. Fortunately pretty much everything stayed in their boxes. Thus far: we have 1 broken DAT (already preserved), 1 broken vintage horn speaker and one microphone with a ding in the grill.

Christchurch Art Gallery –  the collections  were not really affected at all. Neither the art collection, nor the library and archives, suffered any damage at all.

Macmillan Brown Library/ University of Canterbury Library –  survived remarkably well.  Many thousands of books on the floor but our earthquake protection measures (and a good solid building!) proved their worth and the glass-plates, documentary archives and architectural drawings are all ok!  UC’s Central Library has been the most severely hit, and is likely to be closed for the duration of term 4.

Air Force Museum of New Zealand –  Research collections had virtually no issues, a bit of deformed shelving and 2 books fell off the shelf. Our object stores fared slightly worse but much of what collapsed held unaccessioned aircraft spares. The Museum is open and we are also accepting researchers.

Oxford Museum – no damage, just a couple of pictures off the wall

Christ’s College and Diocesan Archives – hardly had any movement in the Christ College Archives but a great deal of mess but all salvageable at the Diocese Archives.

Aotearoa New Zealand Centre, Christchurch City Libraries – the  Research Room is off limits to the public as the shelving holding the very heavy A-Js has pulled away from the wall and needs to be refixed.  We can still retrieve material from the archives collection for use and are looking at the situation for the Research Room stock.  Our shelving out at the Smith Street store has buckled and driven sideways, but apparently it looks worse than it is, and the bound newspapers etc are ok for the most part.  The ANZC area was the messiest part of the Central Library with books coming off the top shelves, but the shelving stayed upright.

Sumner Museum – everything is fine. But there is a CCC Keep out notice. Some of the outside walls will need to be attended to before we can open to the public.

Archives New Zealand, Christchurch – back in the office but are still unable to access our stack area due to the damage our shelves have suffered, but the archives themselves are fine.


Filed under Canterbury Quake, Disasters

Paper mending workshop

I was privileged to be able to attend the above workshop run by Lynn Campbell the Paper Conservator at the Christchurch Art Gallery.

Heres an overview of a most enjoyable morning:

IMPORTANT: You must be able to reverse your repair, i.e. don’t use anything that you cannot remove such as pva, cellotape, even book tape apparently.

CLEANERS Commercial draught cleaners used to clean paper are expensive so the alternative is to use a grated rubber (non-abrasive such as Pelican White) which is rubbed, using clean fingers or cotton wool etc., over the area to be mended. Note: don’t rub over pencil, chalk, pastels etc. Please note that papers made in Asia will be damaged by this method due to the fibres.

PAPER TYPES European paper can be easily cleaned by the rubber method, however the method used to make this paper is quick, produces acidic paper, the fibres are shorter and therefore don’t make strong patches.

Japanese paper is made from trees that are cut down then soaked for 6 months in alkaline river-fed waters. Apart from reducing acidity this method also gets rid of lignum which will eventually destroy the paper. This makes it the paper of choice for artists and printers. Therefore strong but flexible papers such as Kozo or Mulberry are ideal to use as repairers.

GLUES An excellent glue is methyl cellulose which is reversible with water. (Never buy the sodium… version). Mix with warm water – add the powder to the water not vice versa. (Don’t use metal spoon – glass cocktail stirrers are ideal, or plastic or wood). Keep refrigerated. When it goes watery or even like a plastic sheet, it has gone off.

(Wheat glue is the best but takes half a day to prepare- about 40 minutes of stirring for a start, if I remember correctly. Incidentally, in Japan the apprenticeship period for a paper repairer is 10 years. The first year is spent stirring and making the glue and the second is tearing paper. At the end of the apprenticeship they are given a large bucket of the glue which means they never have to make it again).

METHOD After cleaning area to be mended, lay item on a “light-box” table if available. Overlay with a mylar and then your mending paper. Using a fine paintbrush dipped in water, paint around the outline of the damaged area onto the mending paper, to make the patch. The mylar will keep the original dry. (Wet paper loses 80% of its strength and hence easier to tear). Tear out the shape of the patch – dont cut it. This means that the fibres will then grab on to the paper better. (There are special water pens you can buy – they look like a pen, have a brush on the end, and you unscrew and pour water in).

Paste the patch, flicking the glue across to draw out the fibres for a better “grab”. Now glue paper together. Note” if there is a long tear, just use small pieces not one long piece.

On top of the mended area lay Mono baking paper (cheapest and best). Run a wooden spatula over the area to flatten, then dry by either running a hot spatula iron over or putting weights (such as bags filled with lead shot) on top and leave for half a day. If repairing a number of items you can pile them up, with baking paper between, and top with the weights.

Sue Julian

Macmillan Brown Library, University of Canterbury

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Christchurch City Council Archives – Webpages back up

Our webpages are now back up and available for the public to access. The web address is as follows :


As the address is quite complex we are directing customers to find us under the ‘Services A-Z’ – which is on the front page  of the main web address (www.ccc.govt.nz) and is a quick way to get to our pages.

We also have a brochure nearly completed so will be sending out to organisations throughout the region to promote our services.

We are having a steady stream of customers to our Reading Rooms now – a record 7 people at one time last week! Please remember that we are open by appointment only and to direct any customers to contact us initially at archives@ccc.govt.nz

CCC Coat of Arms

CCC Coat of Arms

We are continuing to uncover gems in the collection on a weekly basis – it can be a bit like Christmas. We recently found a draft of an 1867 Building Ordinance in an unlisted box entitled ‘Miscellaneous Reports to Council’ which the researcher was thrilled with! We have also unearthed the original printing plate of the Coat of Arms of the Council – which was created after a competition in 1922 with the motto ‘Britons Hold Your Own’ – very exciting once we had the plate printed and we realised what we were looking at!


Annabel Armstrong-Clarke

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Records and Archives Week 2010

Cantage is keen to have more participants in our RAW week exhibition. This is the exhibition we are planning to run at Christchurch City Libraries where we will have digital images (from as many Cantage collections as we can get) projected onto a wall at the Libraries. We will then celebrate with a morning tea on Friday 7th May where we can all present the item we have chosen for the exhibition.

This is a great opportunity to share some of the gems in your collection and to show the wealth of material in our local area. It is also the first time we have tried to do a joint Cantage project so we are wanting it to be a success!

If you have items in your collection but are not sure how to take a digital image please contact amanda.brown@ccc.govt.nz or annabel.armstrong-clarke@ccc.govt.nz . Amanda and Annabel are happy to come and visit and take an image for the exhibition.

Don’t forget the theme for RAW 2010 is archives and records of industry. “New Zealanders are renowned for our ingenuity and clever ideas (our No.8 wire mentality). Archives and records are an important means of preserving our history of industry, innovation, trade, enterprise, research, science, technology and economic development.”

Many of you in the North Canterbury area I’m sure have material regarding the agricultural industry which would be perfect for this theme.

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Filed under Events, Exhibitions, Resources

Private lives and public records


Interior of Sitting Room, Malvern Hills Station, Canterbury, New Zealand, July 1858

A new online exhibition Private lives and public records, which introduces the Aclands, a prominent South Canterbury farming family.

The exhibition brings together the private papers and artwork of the Acland family with the public records that document the family’s interactions with the government.

The purpose of this exhibition is to showcase the interconnected roles of the University of Canterbury’s Macmillan Brown Library – Te Puna Rakahau o Macmillan Brown, and Archives New Zealand‘s Christchurch office. By bringing together the public and private records of each institution, we are able to show how our collections relate to each other and contribute to a more complete picture of our shared heritage. Utilising resources from different institutions enables researchers to build an holistic view of their subject that more accurately reflects the reality of lived experiences.

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NRAM New Name – your input wanted

NRAMArchives New Zealand has a project underway to replace the National Register of Archives and Manuscripts (NRAM) with a more user-friendly system, with the hope of better meeting the needs of contributors and researchers. The project will also establish improved support for contributors and more active processes for keeping NRAM fresh. Archives NZ plan to make the first phase of the new system available in May 2009 and would like to launch it with a new name.

Currently they are seeking suggestions for this new name. There is a page on the NRAM website where people can fill in a name suggestion (and there are some guidelines on this – no acronyms, keep it short, etc). People can also e-mail Tracie Almond, NRAM Project Manager (Tracie.Almond@archives.govt.nz).

For more info on NRAM visit the site – www.nram.org.nz

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