Christchurch City Libraries: Canterbury Stories

Catalyst collaborate with Christchurch City Libraries to preserve and protect their taonga and kōrero.

Canterbury Stories on desktop


Christchurch City Libraries (CCL) has been gathering the knowledge held by the Christchurch and Banks Peninsula communities by inviting them to share pieces of their history and kōrero, and adding these to CCL’s growing digital heritage collection to ensure material is safely archived and preserved for the future.


CCL already had multiple online digital archives made up of digitised items from the CCL physical Archive collection, born digital items and items digitised from private collections. They wanted to bring these memories to life with a more immersive experience and various content types. At the same time CCL wanted to make it easier for residents and staff to engage with and contribute to the collection.

CCL wished to preserve memories in all their forms – for this they needed a repository and archive technology that would allow the preservation and display of taonga in multiple forms such as videos, audio, and high-resolution images. These collections needed to be easily searched and explored through a variety of access points including curated sets and exhibitions.



To help preserve Christchurch's memories and maximise engagement and the collaboration with residents, we set up an Islandora 8.1.0– a Drupal distribution (version 8) – both recently updated with features that leverage this solution's potential. This advanced repository is now known as Canterbury Stories.


Canterbury Stories will bring the community together as they share their lived experiences; through collaboration, community and communication residents and future generations can protect, preserve and enjoy their taonga, kōrero and history.


The public can enjoy browsing everyone's historical taonga through exploring the collections on Canterbury Stories by visiting object pages. They can also discover sets and exhibitions through the website as well as third party searches (e.g. Google). 

Visitors can share their experience, and specific taonga with sharing widgets for popular social networks (e.g. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram); not only will this feature help promote CCL’s preservation initiative, but it will also encourage others to share and preserve their history and keep the conversations and engagement with history current.


Islandora is perfect for CCL's Canterbury Stories as it is an open source digital asset management platform. This saves the Library from licence costs and vendor lock-in and, its features include a powerful search, linked data and faceting capabilities to help users discover collections. 

CCL staff can add, edit and delete collections and objects and associated Resource Description Framework (a World Wide Web Consortium metadata model).

Islandora also features an access control system; allowing for CCL to configure roles and permissions amongst staff, as well as embargo viewing of artefacts. 


Canterbury Stories is hosted on Catalyst Cloud, which carries multiple benefits such as scalability, low latency and cost efficiency, as well as working with a company that understands the importance of preserving New Zealand’s heritage.

Catalyst is honoured and proud to have taken part in Christchurch’s efforts in bringing history to life and we will continue to support the Christchurch City Libraries with their preservation of memories and history.

Canterbury Stories on desktop


Do you have taonga to protect? Get in touch to learn more about the many ways Catalyst can help you preserve your history.