Hawke's Bay's history keeper Knowledge Bank is teetering on the edge of closure if consistent funding for daily operational costs is not found.
Hawke's Bay Digital Archives Trust chairman Peter Dunkerley says Knowledge Bank, now in its ninth year, is a "treasure trove" of Hawke's Bay history which is scanned and recorded by more than 80 volunteers.
The material is free to use for the community.
"It is incredibly important and interesting material," Dunkerley said.
"These are the stories of events, people, celebrations, tragedies and day-to-day life that have helped form the culture and landscape of the Bay we know today."
• Never-before-seen Hawke's Bay earthquake photos found in Hastings house
• Premium - Historical pictures of Parkvale School's first years uncovered in cabinet before centenary
• Te Mata Park wins Recreation Aotearoa's Community Award
• Premium - Hawke's Bay Sikh community rally to make voices heard after Hastings council declines new temple
He said the charity was looking for about $5000 a month to cover things such as wages, insurance and electricity.
At present it gets $2000 a month from the Hastings District Council, which runs out after the next financial year, and an average of $2500 a year comes from general donations.
"That [$5000] could be 250 people prepared to commit to $20 a month, or it could be that people are able to give us a one-off donation, we're grateful for all considerations," Dunkerley said.
"We do keep costs to an absolute minimum by relying very heavily on our fantastic volunteers who do the large bulk of the work."
He said Knowledge Bank, like all charities, struggled to find operational funding.
"We are extremely lucky to have support from charitable trusts and councils that enables us to buy the technology we need to do the work and pay for things like our new website, but trusts do not allow funds to be used for operational costs, things like electricity and wages."
The bank now holds thousands of records with many more in the pipeline, and its website is accessed an average 30,000 times a month.
There are family records, collections that focus on the region's industrial history, including Watties and the Whakatu Freezing Works, copies of the Hawke's Bay Photo News from the 1950s and 60s, pictorial records of social events like the A&P Show and the Blossom Parade, and photos from the 1931 earthquake not seen anywhere else.
Hundreds of previously unseen images of the aftermath to the 1931 Hawke's Bay earthquake came to light this year as part of a treasure trove of photos found in a professional photographer's box in a Hastings house.
Some 200-plus earthquake pictures were found in the box. They were taken by the late Dael Therkleson, who worked for Lovell-Smith Photographers, Hastings, before taking over the business.
The photos were in Therkleson's brother's home when he died.
The images were donated to the bank by Tony Wilson, whose son had been given them by Therkleson's nephew.
While few of the photos were dated, there was one marked 1910, and the events, clothes and cars indicated the collection went up to the 1950s or 60s.
Dunkerley said the future of the historic collections looked grim without funding.
"The uploaded collections will remain on line and available to the public however any progress on gathering new material and uploading it will be at risk."
If it closes down, Knowledge Bank would return all material back to its donor.
Knowledge Bank is a charitable trust which collects, digitises and uploads written, oral and photographic records from across Hawke's Bay, to ensure the region's history is preserved.