Preservation and protection of Christchurch's' taonga and kōrero

by Chloe Gunn

Catalyst’s South Island branch has fought hard to preserve Christchurch's history with two expert open source solutions.

Firstly, Catalyst built an advanced digital archive called Canterbury Stories for Christchurch City Libraries. The innovative service was launched in Christchurch yesterday by Carolyn Robertson, Head of Libraries and Information. This service brings the community together as they share their lived experiences. The public can enjoy browsing everyone's historical taonga by visiting and sharing object pages, encouraging people to explore and share their history and keep historical conversations current.

Christchurch City Libraries opted for Islandora, an open source platform which saves the library from vendor lock-in.

Canterbury Stories presents a selection of photos derived from 17,000 photos from the collection of Doc Ross ; a selection from a valuable archived collection from Orion - Municipal Electricity Department, showcasing the historic and current infrastructure around the growing city; a selection of photos from the extensive Christchurch Star Archive; and community contributed content from the Libraries’ Photo Hunt.

Secondly, Catalyst partnered with the University of Canterbury Arts Digital Lab to develop the 'Red Zone Stories' application. The Red Zone Stories application crowdsources and preserves the memories of the neighbourhood that were lost after the February 2011 quake.

The app allows individuals to capture and share videos, photos, text, and map pathways and stories - describing the neighbourhood as it was while sharing reflections and memories. With work due to commence on the Red Zone soon, it is essential to capture these memories and contribute to the digital archive that will educate future visitors.

"The Catalyst team are thrilled to contribute to these projects and preserve the memories that are so important to the residents of Christchurch." said Mariann Matai, General Manager for Catalyst - South Island.

Through collaboration, community and communication, residents and future generations can protect, preserve and enjoy their history and kōrero. 

Red Zone app Screenshot Christchurch City Libraries Canterbury Stories desktop view