Archives Hindsight for November

We said goodbye to Myke Tymons at the end of October. Myke assisted us over the move and continued by processing a large percentage of the Auckland parish records received from the Museum . Thanks Myke we would love to have you on a more permanent basis.

I attended the Christchurch Presbytery meeting on 9 November and attempted to enthuse those present in the care of their parish records by outlining what to retain, dispose of and how to protect the records while in parish custody. It was also an opportunity to explain the transfer of the Christchurch parish records to Dunedin. The Christchurch City Libraries who have offered a service as a Repository from the mid-1980s is no longer able to accommodate the Presbyterian Archives due to space issues.

I spent time with the Christchurch City Libraries Heritage staff to organise our strategies for the transfer of the collections, so we can be reassured that the transfer will go smoothly.  The records will be transferred during the first part of 2010. I will keep you up with play as it takes place.

The Presbyterian Church is very grateful for the support of the Library over many years. I especially thank Rosemary O’Neill and her staff for their cooperative efforts they have shown in caring for the Presbyterian collections.  They have willingly catalogued and preserved our collections free of charge and by-and-large their service has gone unnoticed by us.  Thank you so very much.

It was a humbling experience to meet up with the two Archivists and the Project Manager of St. Paul’s Trinity Pacific, in the city, and view the terrible damage caused by the fire they had several months ago. The project of rebuilding the interior and replacing the fixtures is about to begin. One can feel some relief that the Parish archives collection which dates back to the  1880s is safe and undamaged.  We wish the congregation well  as they watch the church return to its former glory, over the next two years.

I enjoyed catching up with Jo Smith, Methodist Archivist, while in   Christchurch. It is good to meet up with Church Archivists and who work for a Church body; we discover that we are not alone in the ups and downs of our work. Like the majority of Archives organisations the Methodist Archives are facing  a space crisis. Plans are afoot for some renovation work to happen in the next year or so and they look forward to being able to spread their wings.

The trip to Christchurch offered the opportunity of touching base with the North Otago Museum and the South Canterbury Museum two further Repositories. The staff at South Canterbury Museum have recently re-boxed and catalogued the Presbyterian collection and it looks most impressive. I was encouraged to see all South Canterbury parishes making use of the Museum facilities. Thank you Tony for the marvellous job you have carried out on our behalf.

With a boot-full of Christchurch Presbytery records and contending with gale force winds on the return trip I experienced considerable relief when the view of Dunedin city appeared. In all, the three days away proved a useful opportunity to catch-up with colleagues and reassure the Christchurch parishes that the parish collections will continue to be cared for in a professional manner.

I have already posted on the exciting two day Maori and Christianity Conference at Salmond College had several requests for research material has resulted from the Conference.

Hewitson Wing Alterations

Alterations are taking place around us once more with the commencement of the Knox Centre of Ministry and Leadership upgrade in the Hewitson Wing.  The photo shows the cabling being organised to connect the new offices and lecture rooms  with the wider world.  ‘A fiddly task,”commented the technician. 

Those familar with the Hewitson Wing will note the two new entrances on either side of the foyer.  It took three days to cut through the walls and clean up.  My heart was in my mouth for a short time when a fracture in the floor meant water seeped into the lower storage area in the basement. Fortunately nothing was damaged and the only evidence is the water stain left on the roof above the records.


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