The Te Awamutu Courier newspaper catalogue held at Te Awamutu Museum has been approved into a national programme to digitise our heritage.
Te Awamutu Museum successfully applied to the Collaborative Digitisation Programme for 2020/2021, which is run by the National Library of New Zealand: Te Puna Mātauranga o Aotearoa and NZ Microfilm Services.
The first step of the programme will see each page of every publication produced between 1936 and 1950 microfilmed by June 2021. The microfilms will then be digitised and added online to the national library database of Paperspast in the second stage, which will take place in 2021/2022.
Museum director Anne Blyth said the programme meant Waipā's history would be preserved for future generations.
"We're very excited to have this opportunity to preserve 14 years of our local newspaper, microfilmed and digitised for generations of people to enjoy in perpetuity.
"This is a great addition to the 1911 to 1935 editions of the Waipā Post that are already available online after being through this process and our own museum digitisation project, which was started in 2019."
Copies of the Te Awamutu Courier 1936-1950 have now been sent to the National Library and New Zealand Micrographic Services and are currently unavailable for research inquiries. Researchers seeking copies of later editions are available upon request.
Adding the catalogue of newspapers to PapersPast contributes to a national database of significant news media, magazines, letters and journals already accessible online at paperspast.natlib.govt.nz.
"Digitising the collections helps to protect the integrity of the physical archives as more people are able to obtain information without having to handle the items," said Anne.
"Over time, paper archives can degrade, become yellow and brittle, or in some instances can become completely illegible, so being able to extend the lifespan of these items in this way is a wonderful initiative."
Once the two-year process is complete, people will be able to search the online catalogue for articles by using a keyword search. More recent copies of the Te Awamutu Courier are already available in digital format but without a keyword search function.
The Te Awamutu Museum is the oldest museum in the Waikato region with an extensive collection of 18,351 items that span centuries and includes taonga Māori and social history artefacts. Museum visiting hours, current exhibitions and the digital collection is available at tamuseum.org.nz.