Main Rd, Tūātapere, next to the old Railway Station. We also belong to the internationally recognised 'Safe Space Alliance'.
Ngā haora mahi
Tuesday and Thursday from 10.30-1.30.
1st & 3rd Friday of the month from 1.30-4.30.
1st Saturday of the month from 1.30-4.30 (other than exceptional circumstances).
We will update/notify on our Facebook and Insta, should you need to check, or feel free to contact us on above details.
Family History/Genealogical Research/Whakapapa Group:
Held on the first and third Thursday every month. This is held in the afternoon at 1.30pm, cost is a gold coin donation, unless you have a group membership (please ask for more details of this cost saving service). You are welcome to bring your own laptop or tablet, use our wifi and share our range of resources at the Community Archives, also help and support each others research.
Images online are free to view.
Visiting our Community Archives Hub to undertake research is free. Research can be undertaken on your behalf for a small fee. If you want copies of images/records, we charge these at cost. To attend special interest groups there may be a small cost, see below:
If you wish to help support this volunteer community project, a family history research group membership donation with benefits is available, and we are currently setting up a 'Friends of the Community Archives'. Or, you can simply contribute by making a donation, to help share our local history more widely. Please contact as above for more information about either of these options.
PROJECT TO PRESERVE OUR PAST - Central & Western Archive, Murihiku Southland
We are predominantly a digital archive, with a local district research facility which is newly opened to the public. Our motto is: "By the Community, For the Community". We are rightly proud of our Community Archive Heritage Hub and all that this means for us.
The Central & Western Murihiku Southland Archive was originally set up as a Community Archives project in 2022, with an Online Museum, to digitally gather, store, preserve, record, and share our district's history. We started out digitally preserving the history of the Eastern Bush Community, as it was an area without a fully written history. Most of all, we wanted to set up a free community service. Remembering of course that today's life is tomorrow's history, we are keen to capture our communities progress as changes take place, so please contact us with photos, information or other paper and film based items you wish to preserve and share with others, from within the areas we cover (see below).
The need for collection of physical archives, (focusing on paper and film based items) from across the Waiau District of Murihiku Southland, became apparent. Our Waiau residents have made it clear they wish and expect to be able to retain and care for their own local history records. Local residents wanted to be empowered to retain and preserve their own unique district history. As of 23 June 2023, our governance group has taken over ownership of our new building, a Community Archives hub and base for the Online Museum. This was kindly gifted by Whānau Āwhina Plunket for a nominal sum and with massive support by the Tūātapere Te Waewae Community Board. We are excited to announce this new step in our heritage preservation journey and the progress we are making in bringing change to our community in the ways they can access, contribute to, learn from, engage with and share our local district heritage, both themselves and in our community. Our Community Archive Heritage Hub was officially opened by Mayor Scott on 13 Oct 2023.
For our 2023/2024 focus, we will be moving on to specifically target preserving the history of the Waiau Valley and wider surrounds, including Clifden and the Monowai and Manapōuri power projects, noting that the Monowai Power Scheme is 100 years old in March 2025. We will also collate stories of how reducing the flow of the Waiau River has impacted the Waiau districts and the Tūātapere community in particular. We have started this part of the project by focusing on the earlier Waiau River Crossings. If you can provide any photos and information from either of these areas or points of interest, please contact our local Digitisation Project Manager as below, for how you can help out. This project combines both digital preservation and physical archive collection.
Additionally, we have started digitising Tūātapere Hump Ridge Track history. We are keen to secure further funding for our new DigiHub, of which we have raised the money for the first stage of necessary equipment. We are now seeking funding for the second stage. This is required to undertake our vastly increased workload by a growing number of community volunteers. While the scope of our projects is quite a large undertaking, we desire to have this fully operational and the current work load and project undertaken, well before the Humpridge Track officially becomes New Zealand’s next Great Walk, which will hopefully be during 2024 after weather events have forced postponements. If anyone can help us with this project, whether it be for funding, digitising or if you have any in-depth knowledge of the track itself, please let us know. Kia ora to all our volunteers who are already doing valuable mahi/work to help preserve our various district histories and this one too.
Ongoing Programs and Policy:
The physical Community Archives Hub is not competing for collections with other institutions, but rather ensuring that our local and district community records are preserved for posterity and are made freely available, particularly to those communities to which they pertain. This building will also provide a home base for the DigiHub equipment, which enables us to undertake ongoing preservation projects. This provides new services for our community to learn, share, research, preserve and enjoy their history and past heritage, in ways that bring us together.
We will also be continuing our digital preservation of community held historical material, as it is especially important for communities who have no history repository locally, to have a place to keep their local heritage safe and to promote the history of their communities and those who settled the area or worked there. But all district histories within our boundaries are welcome. Any district, town, farm, business, family, event, nature or community project within our designated area (the old Wallace County region) is considered and if you would like to have the history of this recorded for our current and future generations, please make contact with us to arrange this.
We accept photos, articles, memories, books, records, maps, posters, other ephemera, basically all paper and film based items, plus any objects you may want photographed as a district record, from across the region we cover, for digitizing and putting into the online museum and community archive. You can also ask us to take photographs of objects and properties for the archive. We now also have equipment to transfer VHS to Digitial storage. If this is of a historical nature and you wish to donate a copy to us, the service is free. If you wish your own personal tapes to be transferred, we will do this for a donation to cover our costs, as a way to help us be self-sustaining in some of our operational costs in future. Oral history and video recordings is something else we will be working on shortly. If you have a story of local or district history to tell, please do let us know, and we will arrange one of our volunteers to work with you to have this recorded for posterity.
For physical archives (paper, film and fabric records), we are only collecting material relevant to our local Waiau District, Murihiku Southland and the surrounding communities which share services. Please contact us if you wish to offer any physical material from the Waiau District of Murihiku Southland to our Community Archives for safe storage, permanent preservation, and sharing with our local community. We will assess the material for suitability before accepting.
We have a formal Collecting and Disposal Policy which has been shared with other district public institutions and which is available to all other interested parties on request. Please contact us.
Geographical area covered:
The area we are covering with the digital archive is one in which the settlers within it often moved around to live and work in different local districts, so their family collections can be held together and not spread across varying institutions. The Western part of the district covered by the archive will be roughly from Piopiotahi/Fiordland in the West, right across the Waiau District, and along the coast south west coast, down into the Aparima/Riverton area in the South. Our coverage extends all the way over to Central Southland up to the old Wallace County district boundary. We are predominantly focusing on the Waiau area, first and foremost, as our museum here is no longer operational, but other communities across the wider district are interested in the project and are also supporting our endeavours. Families from across the area are contributing their own history.
Special collections held:
It is a privilege as well, to be chosen to be the holder of all the research material generated for the upcoming Central Western district book series on early Ōtautau, from the "Between River & Stream" project, as the town prepares for its 150th Celebrations at the end of 2024. Many settlers from this area made their way west as land opened up, so it is wonderful to see the community connections between these two districts. We have also just been donated an entire digital archive of the 100th Centenary book on Tūātapere, 'The Hole in The Bush' with the author giving permission for us to recreate this text and the photos within the community archives. These are both thrilling developments and both authors are keen to see their works easily accessible by the communities they represent. We are keen to also work with any other local and district authors.
We are also home to copies of two of the Waiau District's former newspapers/newsletters for the local communities this area services, the Waiau Gazette from 18 April 1969 and the Link & Chain Community News Bulletin from July 1985. We also have many copies of the Western Wanderer from 2007 onwards, but not so many from 2008 - 2018, so if you have these, we would like more!
We have also recently had donated a vast array of material relating to the Clifden district, Lake Hauroko, and Wairaurahiri River, with a range of both historical, and environmental background to this area, including documents about fossil finds, wildlife preservation projects, biological rejuvenation projects, pest eradication programs, environmental monitoring and ecological tours operating from across the district. These items will be digitised and added to our online portal as part of the wider Waiau Valley project, encompassing the two Murihiku Southland Power Schemes and the impacts these have had on the Waiau River itself and the surrounding districts.
We have highly trained and very experienced historical researchers available should you need help finding information and our charges for doing this are very reasonable. Please note that any material we hold for public viewing is freely available to everyone and if you need copies of anything, a donation to cover our copying costs will suffice. Please contact our Social Historian and Project Manager for information about our research service, as per details below.
We are seeking funding for some publicly available computers for you to use when you visit our Hub. In the event these are granted, we will be able to provide computer access, internet access and help visitors with basic computer skills, to enhance the skills of those in our community who may suffer from 'digital divide'.
For more information, or to make donations of material, please just ask. We appreciate those local communities who are organizing to drop off their history donations to us for digitising and also participating in helping provide further information as needed and thank our new volunteers who are hard at work organizing and researching district history. We also give a huge shout-out to all those across the local towns and districts, who are making contact to arrange for us to consider receiving care of community history that they had kept safe, for such a wonderful occasion as this.
The Central & Western Archive is being run as a sub-group of the Tūātapere & District Promotions Inc. as overarching governance. We would like to acknowledge and thank the following supporters, sponsors and/or funders, of their community project, so far:
Tūātapere Te Waewae Community Board
Tūātapere Hump Ridge Track Charitable Trust
Tūātapere & District Promotions Inc.
Tūātapere District Lions Charitable Trust
Tūātapere Service Station Ltd
Tūātapere Presbyterian Church Pop Up Shop
Four Square Tūātapere
Lottery Grants Board
Also some others, who will be making media announcements about this themselves. We are grateful to all those, locally, regionally and nationwide, who have helped us to achieve what we have so far. We could not have achieved what we have without your help, funding and support.
Remember this is YOUR archive as part of your local community, a place where you can save and store any local history. You can either donate this to our care on behalf of the community, or even have it copied for free, without it leaving your ownership, if you would rather engage with our digital sharing and preservation program. The online archive is a place where everybody within the community can contribute, comment, interact, share memories and our combined history. We do not need to take your important history to keep, we can professionally copy it, ensure these copies are safe and share them with the community. Your heritage remains in your hands if you wish this to happen, but it also ensures both yourselves and the community have a copy kept safe from future degradation or disaster. If you have precious family or club memories you want to share with others but retain ownership of, the online community archive is a perfect solution for you.
Our Core Values, Mission and Vision Statement can be seen pinned to the top of our Facebook account, or feel free to email and ask us for a copy. These are also on display at the Archives Hub.
As this is a new site, a new model and a community voluntary project, please can you bear with us as we progress, grow and add new features, both online and at the Community Archives Hub. The plan is for each local community to have their own entries within this site online and at the Hub, and for all the early settler families in each of these, to also be included in that, along with all past and current clubs, societies and businesses, community events or environmental projects, with a brief history and photos of each. If you can help us by providing yours, please contact as below.