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About New Zealand Memory of the World

The New Zealand Memory of the World Programme is one of over 60 Memory of the World programmes worldwide. It was established in 2010 by the New Zealand National Commission for UNESCO. The New Zealand Committee’s members have a broad knowledge of New Zealand’s heritage institutions and communities.

The New Zealand programme aims to:

  • develop the New Zealand Memory of the World Register
  • propose nominations to the Memory of the World International Register
  • participate in selected heritage activities and be an advocate for the documentary heritage sector.

The New Zealand Memory of the World Programme operates within the regional framework of MOWCAP, the Memory of the World Committee for Asia/Pacific.

We would like to thank the UNESCO Australia MOW Programme for the assistance they gave their NZ colleagues in setting up the UNESCO NZ MOW programme.

UNESCO launched the Memory of the World programme in 1992. Memory of the World aims to recognise significant documentary heritage similarly to the way UNESCO’s World Heritage Convention and World Heritage List recognises significant natural and cultural sites.

The vision of the Memory of the World programme is that the world’s documentary heritage belongs to all, should be fully preserved and protected for all and, with due recognition of cultural mores and practicalities, should be permanently accessible to all without hindrance.

The International Memory of the World Register, administered by UNESCO, seeks to identify items of documentary heritage which have worldwide significance. It aims to bring the value and significance of documentary heritage to wider public notice, along with the work performed by libraries, archives and museums in preserving this valuable heritage. The specific objectives of the Memory of the World Programme are:

  • To facilitate preservation by the most appropriate techniques of the world’s documentary heritage
  • To assist universal access to documentary heritage
  • To increase awareness worldwide of the existence and significance of documentary heritage

Read more on the UNESCO website.


  • Jane Wild
  • Bruce Ralston
  • David Reeves
  • Whina Te Whiu
  • Joanna Condon
  • Seán McMahon
  • Charlotte Macdonald
  • Kate Button
  • Lynn Benson
  • Erin Kimber
  • Catherine Hammond

Trust Chair Jane Wild is a documentary heritage specialist, currently working as a rare books specialist in the Sir George Grey Special Collections at Auckland Libraries, where she was previously Heritage Collections Manager, with responsibility for  three distributed special collections. Jane was the Alexander Turnbull Library’s inaugural editor of the ‘National Register of Archives & Manuscripts’, now the Community Archive.

Jane has managed academic, special and research libraries – from 1999–2011 she managed the three Creative Arts & Industries libraries at the University of Auckland. This included the Architecture Archive and the Elam Archive in addition to the University Library’s Special Collections.

Former Trust Chair Bruce Ralston is now Treasurer. Formerly a library manager and archivist, he now works from Waihi on a range of editing and archival projects, and is Editor of The New Zealand Genealogist. He commenced his involvement with documentary heritage as a genealogical record agent at the Scottish Records Office, and developed his knowledge and skills as a manuscripts librarian and editor of the National Register of Archives and Manuscripts at the Alexander Turnbull Library.

Later, as manager of the Auckland Museum Library he worked on mechanisms to make better online descriptions and access to the extensive documentary heritage resources. Some of these items now appear in the Memory of the World New Zealand Register.

David was appointed Director of Auckland War Memorial Museum Tamaki Paenga Hira in 2023. He joined the Museum in January 2011 as Director Collections and Research, after a time at the Alexander Turnbull Library as Associate Chief Librarian, Research Access.

David’s career also includes roles at the Auckland Art Gallery and at Te Papa managing logistics, storage and documentation of collections.

David brings a range of perspectives on the activities of Libraries, Museums, Galleries and Archives, with a particular interest in how they are responding to and utilising the digital environment.

David is also experienced in museum building design and has been involved in a number of building re-developments and collection relocation projects. He holds a Bachelor of Building Science from Victoria University of Wellington and Diplomas in Professional Photography and Museum Studies.

Whina is the Curator at the Te Ahu Museum in Kaitaia and has worked in various libraries, museums and archives mostly in the North Island for over 25 years.

Whina also led the Māori Subject Headings project to develop terms for the first Māori subject thesaurus Nga Upoko Tukutuku for cataloguing.

Whina’s current passion project is with one of her own marae in North Hokianga. She is the Principal Lead for the newly built and hapu managed facility called Raiātea, situated on Motuti marae. Raiātea will be a flagship model of hapῡ aspirations, and Ngāti Tamatea’s desire to be practitioners of their own taonga and interpreters of their own stories, they have built a facility that reflects hapu identity, spirituality and determination, tino rangatiratanga.

Joanna is Chair of the Trust’s Nomination Subcommittee.

She is Regional Archivist at Archives New Zealand in Christchurch and was formerly the Macmillan Brown Library & Heritage Collections Manager at the University of Canterbury in Christchurch.

I am the Manuscripts Curator / Kaitiaki Tuhinga Taketake at the Alexander Turnbull Library. I have worked with manuscripts during the past twenty years. I have worked in various roles as accessioning archivist, research librarian manuscripts, logistics co-ordinator, Assistant Manuscripts Curator, Curator.

In the past I have served on both the ARANZ (Archives and Records Asscociation of NZ) Wellington Branch Committee and National Council, as Chaiman and President. Currently I am an Advisory Trustee on the Theatre Archives New Zealand.

Over the years I have written newspaper articles and journal papers, conference presentations, seminar and workshop talks, blogs, twitter entries, media interviews etc. I have curated exhibitions and Library events. Lately I am leading The National Library podcast (The Library Loudhailer) team and I am one of the co-presenters.

My particlar interest in MoW is around manuscripts collections and representing the Alexander Turnbull Library when required.

Charlotte is a Professor of History at Te Herenga Waka Victoria University of Wellington and a Fellow of the Royal Society of New Zealand Te Apārangi. With a Marsden Grant awarded in 2014 Charlotte has worked with colleagues to produce the Soldiers of Empire database which provides searchable public access to the names, regiments and dates of service of soldiers who fought in the New Zealand Land Wars of the 1860s.

Charlotte Macdonald’s historical interests span empire and colony, women and gender, bodies and sort, largely in the 19th and early 20th centuries.
Her publications include Strong, Beautiful and Modern (2011), Women Writing Home (2006), ‘My Hand Will Write What My Heart Dictates’ (with Frances Porter, 1996), The Vote, the Pill and the Demon Drink (1993), The Book of New Zealand Women/Ko Kui Ma te Kaupapa (ed with Merimeri Penfold and Bridget Williams, 1991) and A Woman of Good Character (1990), and a number of articles. Her 2019 New Zealand Journal of History article ‘Woolwich to Wellington: settler colony to garrison sovereignty’, was awarded the Mary Boyd Prize.

Kate is Manager Public Programmes & Partnerships, Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision, with responsibilities for establishing a network of national partnerships to increase the national reach of the Ngā Taonga collection. Her team develops a variety of public programmes to connect with our priority audiences including GLAM organisations, Māori communities and the education sector.

Kate has previously worked in public programmes and Picture Library management at the Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa, as well as a commercial image library in London.

She is Advisor to UNESCO Wellington City of Film.

Lynn retired as Acting Hocken Librarian at the Hocken Collections in Dunedin in 2023, where her substantive role is Researcher Services Manager.

Prior to this she was manager of the National Digital Heritage Archive for the National Library of New Zealand and has spent time working for the Alexander Turnbull Library, the  UN Mechanism for International Criminal Tribunals for the Former Yugoslavia; and  Archives New Zealand.

She has a particular interest in digital delivery and content and in enabling different ways of connecting and using our unique collections.

Lynn feels that being part of the UNESCO Memory of the World Trust’s work is a great honour as it’s an essential part of highlighting and providing access to our nationally significant collection.

Erin Kimber is Kaitiaki Pūranga Archivist at the Macmillan Brown Library,University of Canterbury where she cares for the institutions unique and significant archives, photographs, and architectural drawing collections. Her role encompasses all aspects of curation and collection management as well as the regular provision of lectures, tutorials, tours, exhibition and research projects.

Prior to this Erin has held a variety of positions at University of Canterbury and Christchurch City Libraries, contributing to numerous projects focused on enhancing access to collections.
Passionate about bringing attention to Aotearoa’s national heritage, she has authored two successful Aotearoa Memory of the World inscriptions.

Erin is interested in the continued discussion and expansion of our concept of cultural heritage.

Catherine Hammond is Director Collections & Research at Tāmaki Paenga Hira Auckland War Memorial Museum. Her previous roles include Hocken Librarian at the University of Otago Te Whare Wānanga o Ōtākou, Head of Documentary Heritage at Tāmaki Paenga Hira Auckland War Memorial Museum and Research Library Manager at Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki.

Catherine has a particular interest in curating and exhibiting artist archives.

Her publications include A Different Light: First Photographs of Aotearoa (Auckland University Press, 2024), Nature Boy: The Photography of Olaf Petersen (Auckland University Press, 2022) and Frances Hodgkins: European Journeys (Auckland University Press, Thames & Hudson, 2019).

Catherine co-developed the websites Whakamīharo Lindauer Online, Find New Zealand Artists, and The Complete Frances Hodgkins. She was managing editor of Reading Room: A Journal of Art & Culture (2007-2018).

She has a BA in Art History (University of Auckland) and a Masters in Library and Information Studies (Victoria University of Wellington).

Contact us

If you have any queries please get in touch.

Bruce Ralston

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