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LIANZA 2023 Conference: Day Two Highlights


Chris Cormack and Aleisha Amohia holding their speaker certificates and gifts after presenting

Te Rau Herenga o Aotearoa, Library and Information Association of New Zealand Aotearoa Conference is one of the largest gatherings for librarians and information professionals in New Zealand. For the first time since 2019, it was kanohi ki te kanohi (face to face).

Aleisha Amohia is the Technical Lead for Rōpū kohinga at Catalyst IT. Rōpū kohinga care for collections through technology. Libraries will know Aleisha best for her work on Koha Library Management system over the last 9 years. Libraries will also be familiar with Chris Cormack, Catalyst IT Kaihuawaere Matihiko, and one of the original Koha developers, who joined her at LIANZA 2023 Conference for day two. Aleisha is excited to be at Te Pae Convention Centre in Ōtautahi, Christchurch for the three-day event and is sharing some of her highlights from day two.

LIANZA 2023 day two insights

Keynotes and presentations

1. Designing a mātauranga-based framework

The Christchurch City Libraries team have been investigating how to ‘do better’ for their Māori holdings. One part of this has involved considering the physical location of the collections. For example, whether they’re close to marae, and whether the library has the facilities to adequately display such taonga.

Another project has been the classification of these holdings. The Dewey Decimal Classification system (DDC) is designed to categorise, yet te ao Māori is about interconnectedness. That means, the wrong classification system will cause people to lose context. So, they have developed their own framework which sorts texts into rangi, maunga, whenua, and moana categories, revolving around Ngāi Tahu. Their investigation will encourage others to think more deeply about the expression of mātauranga Māori in libraries.

2. Let your values guide how you choose your library system

Aleisha and Chris Cormack presented ‘ka mua, ka muri’ about tikanga Māori in technology spaces such as Catalyst or in open source software.

Tikanga such as whanaungatanga, manaakitanga, (connection, care) and mana tāngata all play a role in bringing people into the space. The reason being is because they contribute to the concept that by uplifting others, you uplift yourself. Then the demonstration of kaiakopono, tuakana-teina, and whakanuia (teaching, learning, mentorship, and celebrating) makes people want to stay. They also discussed how kōrerorero (discussions) and whakaaro whānui (broad considerations) might work in these spaces.

Chris Cormack and Aleisha Amohia holding their speaker certificates and gifts after presenting

All of this is about aroha and designing a sustainable workplace and software project. However Aleisha and Chris feel strongly that these tikanga are prevalent in libraries too. They finished with reminding the audience that libraries are by the people, for the people, and about the people...and so is open source software.

With a project like the Koha Library Management System, you can serve your community effectively and not sacrifice your ideals.

Chris Cormack talking about kaiakopono at the lectern

3. Technology is an ally, but people are the answer

Dan Te Whenua Walker talked from a tech sector angle, but his key points easily applied to libraries as well. He shared:

  • Some of the reasons Māori do not consider technology as a career path.
  • How organisations are often trying to commercialise culture to make their space appear safe and welcoming for Māori.

Dan suggested we flip that. He presented the idea of ‘culturalise commerce’ – using the platforms and tools available to us to do good for communities.

Leslie Weir, the leading librarian and archivist for Library and Archives Canada (LAC) shared a similar notion:

People remain at the heart of libraries. And, tech solutions should fit those concerns, rather than libraries changing to fit technology.

The view of the LIANZA stage from the audience

LIANZA 2023: Wrapping up day two

All the presentations on day two of LIANZA 2023 Conference discussed the wider contexts libraries are operating within. Plus, how we can use the tools and information around us to better serve our communities and purpose.

Rōpū kohinga are represented at LIANZA to hear what is important in your organisations so we can better support you with your collections – whether it is an repository, archive or library.

Chat to our team if you need support to care for your collections through technology.