Tape playing in machine.

Ā mātou mahi whakauka Our preservation work

See our audiovisual preservation archivists at work behind-the-scenes.

Utaina mass digitisation project

In Budget 2020, Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision was allocated funding to support the digital preservation of Crown-owned audiovisual heritage material. This includes video and sound tapes and some magnetic sound on film, all of which physically deteriorate over time. Without digital preservation, over 95 percent of at-risk content could be lost in less than a decade. In addition, the playback technology for these formats is on the verge of obsolescence. There is a limited window to ensure that these taonga are preserved for future generations.

Crown-owned at-risk audiovisual material is cared for by Ngā Taonga, the National Library of New Zealand – Te Puna Mātauranga o Aotearoa, and Archives New Zealand – Te Rua Mahara o te Kāwanatanga. The majority is in the TVNZ Collection, which Ngā Taonga manages.

International vendor Memnon was selected to carry out the preservation work and have set up a digitisation facility at Avalon Studios, Lower Hutt. Memnon has almost 20 years’ experience in the large-scale digitisation of audio and video assets for libraries, universities, broadcasters, museums and government organisations around the world.

An official launch celebration was held for the Utaina project in Wellington on 17 November 2022. Attendees included then Minister of Internal Affairs Hon Jan Tinetti, then Associate Minister for Arts, Culture and Heritage, Hon Kiritapu Allan, Memnon CEO Heidi Shakespeare, and our peers at the National Library of New Zealand and Archives New Zealand.

Hon Kiritapu Allan speaking at the Utaina launch celebration.

Utaina is expected to continue through to 2026.

The name Utaina translates to ‘load the precious freight on board’. It was a catch phrase of Sir Apirana Ngata when advocating for the recording and preservation of Māori language and heritage. As this project is aspiring to ‘load on board’ precious audiovisual heritage so that it can be preserved for future generations, it is a very appropriate name.

Preserving audio tapes

Learn about the different types of audio tape in the collection, and discover how they are preserved and digitised.

Preserving audio disks

Find out about the collection’s varied types of audio discs, and see them being preserved and cleaned.

Preserving film

Visit the vaults and watch the work carried out by our film preservation staff.

Digital film preservation

Learn more about our digitisation work, and the process of scanning different sized film gauges.

Preserving the TVNZ Collection

Explore the vaults that house the Television New Zealand Collection, and learn about our work preserving the 600,000 television items in the collection.

More preservation stories

Read more about our different preservation projects.

11 November 2016

Charlie Chilcott's unique record of projectionists, projectors and cinemas.

27 October 2016

Ngā Taonga archivists have unravelled the mystery of New Zealand’s second-oldest surviving film.

24 August 2016

Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision recently acquired an interview recorded in 1938/39 with All Black Trevor Berghan.
People at Queen's Wharf seeing off the All Blacks, who were onboard the ship, Wanganella.

25 May 2016

Restored footage of the Bastion Point occupation and eviction is returned to the people and place it was filmed.

16 May 2016

Fixtures such as staples, wiro bindings, bull clips, pins, and metal clasps can – over many years – damage archival documents by creating indents, tears and rust residue.
A large jar of fixtures, including staples, wiro bindings, bull clips, pins, and metal clasps.

9 November 2015

A project to digitise and describe the New Zealand Broadcasting Service Mobile Unit Collection.
Mobile unit recording truck

27 October 2015

Reflecting on the opportunities the WWI commemorations have provided to digitise and improve the viewing experience of a set of 100-year-old films.
A man stands on a raised platform making a speech in front of a large crowd of soldiers.

5 December 2016

Learn about New Zealand's earliest surviving piece of film and our work to restore it.
Film reel undergoing restoration.