E te ropu o nga Taonga Whitiahua me nga Taonga Korero, tena koutou.
Nau mai, haere mai.
Nau mai ki te Whare Kawana o Aotearoa.
Aku mihi nui ki a koutou, i nga mahi whakahirahira, e kawea nei, e koutou.
Nau mai. Haere mai.
David and I are delighted to host you all here this evening. It is a great pleasure to welcome people who have fostered, created or preserved our nation’s audiovisual stories – and to help launch Nga Taonga Sound and Vision’s patronage programme.
We have each had a long association with the screen sector and the film archive, through our respective roles as past Chairs of the Film Commission and my role as Chair of the Film Archive’s Board of Trustees in the late 1980s – so long ago that I can’t actually remember the dates.
I do recall that our premises at the time were in an old building in Tory Street, alongside an adult sauna. The building had previously been a vehicle repair workshop, with a lube bay and the sorts of health and safety challenges that no organization would countenance in a ‘worksafe’ environment! There were many challenges to be overcome on a miniscule budget. But what we did have even then, were staff and trustees who were totally dedicated and determined to preserve our film heritage.
It is truly gratifying to see how Nga Taonga has survived to address those challenges and has expanded to exceed our early expectations.
When I took on the role of Governor-General, becoming Patron of Nga Taonga Sound and Vision was a logical step, given that its work very much aligns with the priorities I have for my programme: creativity, innovation, diversity and leadership.
Nga Taonga leads the field in the preservation and accessibility of our audio-visual cultural heritage in Aotearoa/New Zealand.
It’s become a vital cog in this city’s creative hub and a focus for national research, education, communal experience and memory.
And that’s due to the vision, expertise and dedication of archivists, researchers, educators and management.
It’s extraordinary to think what has been accomplished since the pioneers of the Sound Archive started their work in Timaru in 1955 and Jonathan Dennis, virtually single handed, worked to set up a national Film Archive, way back in 1981.
In 2012 the staff rose to the challenge of amalgamating these two services and in 2014 took over the care of the Television New Zealand Archive. I can imagine that these were extremely complex organizational changes to implement. But we now have a single organization that can provide a comprehensive service, augmented by increased access to online material.
In particular, I want to take this opportunity to acknowledge Trustee Jane Kominik, who will be stepping down from the Board of Ngā Taonga in December. Jane has played an important part in the policy and governance of New Zealand’s culture and heritage for as long as I can remember. But in particular, she served as Chair of the Board of Ngā Taonga from 2011 until earlier this year, through a time of significant change, when New Zealand’s radio, television and film archives became merged into one national organisation. On behalf of everyone who cares about our audiovisual taonga, thank you Jane for your hard work, commitment and vision.
I have no doubt that further innovation in the role of Nga Taonga will be driven by the needs and expectations of the film-making communities, broadcasters, iwi, academia, depositors and stakeholders represented here today.
In turn, Nga Taonga needs the support and encouragement of the broader creative sector and the communities that will access its extraordinary and diverse collections, ranging from footage of the Second New Zealand Contingent training in Newtown Park in 1900, to the Ngā Taonga Kōrero Collection of Māori voices from the early 1960s, to television commercials, film posters and New Zealand feature films.
Nga Taonga gives them all a second life – and lets us see and hear the way we were, and the people and events that made us who we are today.
Today we celebrate Nga Taonga Sound and Vision’s role as a precious cultural storehouse, and look forward to seeing it continue to innovate and expand, with the input, help and support of committed sponsors and the cultural sector.
Kia ora huihui tātou katoa – and please enjoy the hospitality of Government House.