New Zealand’s moving image history has packed up and moved north.
With a dawn ceremony this morning, the New Zealand Film Archive’s new purpose-built storage facility was opened by Minister for Arts, Culture and Heritage Hon Chris Finlayson.
The move represents a significant moment in the preservation of this country’s moving image culture and history, with the relocation of thousands and thousands of rolls of historical film to the new archive facility at Northpoint, Plimmerton, 20km north of Wellington.
Also attending were Film Archive Chair Dr Anne Phillips, Chief Executive Frank Stark, and representatives of Ngati Toa and Te Ati Awa.
The Film Archive is an independent charitable trust and undertook extensive fundraising for the project, receiving donations from Pub Charity, the Lottery Grants Board, the Trusts Charitable Foundation, the Stout Trust and a number of private donors.
Mr Stark pointed out that innovative design, tight cost control and generous philanthropic support have produced a state of the art facility for a national collection at no cost to the taxpayer.
He said the five year project addressed two crucial needs: the current vaults were full to bursting, and there was concern about the possible consequences of natural disasters.
“Seismic risk is something we’ve been concerned about for a long time. Obviously the recent events in Christchurch have confirmed the need for sensible planning,” said Mr Stark.
“As we duplicate our films and videos we can maintain collections at both Northpoint and the existing Film Archive building in Central Wellington which people can still access free of charge.
“The Film Archive is growing all the time and in many ways - the collections, the work we do with them and the public demand to access them. So for us it became too inefficient and risky to go on filling our central city home with vaults,” he said.
The New Zealand Film Archive holds 125,000 films, videos and television programmes on over 300,000 film reels and tape cassettes, in addition to hundreds of thousands of photographs, publications and papers of our cinematic history.
In the eight years since the Film Archive relocated to its present site on Taranaki St, Wellington its collection has grown by 50,000 titles and it is forecasting another 25,000 by 2015.
The new facility is one level, firmly sited on on bedrock and contains over 4kms of shelving. Built to specifications developed for the horticulture cool-store industry, it is climate controlled to the optimum conditions for film and tape.