Did you know that in 1936 the New Zealand Government was considering a five day, 40 hour working week? And that Te Awamutu businessman Joe Sterritt had opened a Hairdressing Saloon in Market Street?
That is just a couple of snippets of what can be found online now that Te Awamutu Museum has given historic copies of the Te Awamutu Courier a second life by digitising the newspaper publications produced between 1936 and 1950.
The programme started in December 2020 after Te Awamutu Museum successfully applied to the Collaborative Digitisation Programme for 2020-21 that is run by the National Library of New Zealand-Te Puna Mātauranga o Aotearoa and NZ Microfilm Services.
Museum director Anne Blyth said the papers were sent away in December 2020 where the team at New Zealand Microfilm Services in Auckland captured every page of every edition from the 14 years.
"Each page is then added to a microfilm that is sent away to National Library in Wellington to be added page by page to Paperspast. It is a long process taking over a year to complete."
The process is now finally completed and these years of the Te Awamutu Courier are more readily available on the website where they can be searched via word text.
Paperspast is a national database that delivers digitised, full-text New Zealand and Pacific newspapers, magazines, journals and books, which are all accessible online at paperspast.natlib.govt.nz
The latest additions of the Te Awamutu Courier were processed along with The Southland Times (1921-1928), Taranaki Daily News (1921-1928) and Timaru Herald (1936-1945).
"It is an incredibly handy tool for study and research on this nationally significant platform, the website allows people to have access to information at their fingertips from the comfort of their own home."
"Paper archives can deteriorate over time and become illegible, having the Courier digitised, it helps with the long-term preservation of the original archives, meaning they can stay safely in storage while their material is accessed in more a user-friendly digital format."
The Te Awamutu Courier publications from 1936 to 1950 join the 1911-1935 editions of the Waipā Post that are already available online on Paperspast.
Te Awamutu Courier editor Dean Taylor, who is also chairman of the Te Awamutu Museum trust, says it is fantastic to have four decades of Te Awamutu's longest running newspaper online.
"We take it for granted that we can go online and find anything we want, but the process of getting the valuable information from early newspapers onto Paperspast is time consuming and expensive," he says.
"We are grateful to museum staff and the Collaborative Digitisation Programme for making it possible."
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, exhibitions and digital collection are available at tamuseum.org.nz