DCC archive protection progress 'disheartening'

Despite two years of lobbying the Dunedin City Council (DCC) over better protection for its archives there has been a ''very disheartening'' lack of progress, Gwennyth Anderson says.

Ms Anderson chairs the Otago-Southland branch of the Archives and Records Association of New Zealand (Aranz).

Branch representatives recently made submissions through the council's annual plan and 10-year plan process.

But ''little progress'' had been made in ''getting the incredibly valuable historical documents rehoused in 21st century standard accommodation'', she said.

And ''better facilities for the archivists and researchers'' had not been achieved.

It was ''particularly disappointing'' that the council had made no provision for the project in its 10-year plan.

Aranz, the archives professional body, has warned about the need to better protect precious local government records, housed in a DCC basement, near water and sewerage pipes.

Asked for comment, DCC group manager Ara Toi, Nick Dixon, said he had spoken to ARANZ on ''the full range of archive holdings held by DCC''.

Mr Nixon, who manages arts and culture at the DCC, said the discussion, over issues involving ''archive provision in the city'', had also included the Hocken Library, Archives New Zealand and the Presbyterian archives.

These discussions would continue this year, he said.

Branch committee member Peter Miller said that any big leak or pipe failure from overhead pipes in the Civic Centre basement could mean ''disaster'' for the records.

These included records of the DCC's predecessor bodies, before local government amalgamation, and records of former city departments, including the gasworks.

Archives New Zealand had issued a statutory instruction to local authorities in 2014, advising that archives had to be ''located as far as possible from natural and man-made hazards'', he said.

john.gibb@odt.co.nz

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