Mā te toi whenua me ngā maumahara tōpū o te hunga e piki ai te wairua manaaki o te katoa People’s sense of belonging and collective memory builds an inclusive New Zealand

A strong sense of belonging is important for New Zealand to be a welcoming and inclusive place for everyone.

Many factors influence people’s sense of belonging and connection. When people lack a sense of belonging and feel excluded there are high social costs, not just for individuals but for communities and society as a whole.

A collective memory contributes to a sense of belonging through knowledge and understanding of our history and culture. A vibrant cultural and national identity also helps to give a collective sense of belonging. People benefit from the social capital that documentary heritage, symbols of national identity, national events and culture provide.

Intermediate outcomes

  • Collective memory is enhanced by New Zealand’s documentary heritage
  • A culture of reading enhances literacy and knowledge
  • New Zealand’s national and cultural identity is fostered and respected
  • Trusted citizenship and identity documents contribute to a sense of belonging
  • Taonga tuku iho is preserved and valued.

Ngā Tīpako - Highlights

  • Agreements with local councils as part of the New Zealand Libraries Partnership Programme have committed funding to upskill 205 existing and new library staff through to June 2022. The programme has confirmed 174 people in fixed-term library roles who are already making an impact in their community. Eleven Strategic Partnership Grants have been awarded so far, totalling $5.024 million.
  • Distribution of more than 15,000 books in languages reflecting the diversity of the community for whānau to keep and share for the Communities of Readers Project.
  • Creation of guided experience in New Zealand Sign Language for the He Tohu exhibition to improve accessibility for Deaf people.
  • The Australian Aid funded Pacific Virtual Museum pilot team launched digitalpasifik.org in November 2020. The site aims to provide visibility and access to digitised heritage for people of the Pacific. Currently, nearly 200,000 records, from over 50 content partners, including museums, libraries, archives, galleries, Non-Government Organisations (NGOs) and community organisations are available.
  • Purchase of land in Taitoko/Levin for a specialised storage facility to meet the growing storage needs of the collections and taonga held by National Library, Archives New Zealand and Ngā Taonga Sound and Vision. This will ensure the protection and preservation of this taonga, ensuring access for current and future generations.

How we are driving change to deliver our outcomes

Collective memory is enhanced by New Zealand’s documentary heritage

CASE STUDY:

New Zealand Libraries Partnership Programme


Local libraries are safe spaces that support lifelong learning and offer access to essential online services.

The New Zealand Libraries Partnership Programme is part of the COVID-19 recovery programme and supports the retention and development of librarians and library services. The Programme aims to enable libraries to play a key role in supporting their communities and people seeking jobs as part of the recovery.

The programme also supports free and easy access to online information. By waiving fees for public libraries to the Aotearoa People’s Network Kaharoa (APNK) services, public libraries can offer free access to the internet to support digital inclusion, literacy, and career development.

Eleven Strategic Partnership Grants have been awarded so far, totalling $5.024 million. The collaborative works funded include Mātauranga Māori professional development, strengthening the library and information workforce, and a programme of work to achieve better outcomes for Māori communities through improved library service design.

Agreements with local councils as part of the Programme have committed funding to upskill 205 existing and new library staff through to June 2022. The programme has confirmed 174 people in fixed-term library roles who are already making an impact in their community. Practical support offered to communities by libraries includes digital literacy classes, te reo Māori support groups, crafts and reading programmes, job seeking and CV writing.

Making Our Iconic Documents Accessible – He Tohu New Zealand Sign Language Guide

After the successful development of the He Tohu Audio Guide, the National Library has developed a guided experience in New Zealand Sign Language (NZSL) to improve accessibility for people in the Deaf community.

The He Tohu NZSL Guide was co-designed with a Deaf focus group, with the content of the original audio guide adapted to be presented in NZSL.

The guided experience takes 30 minutes and starts at the entry of the National Library. This work supports the Library’s goal to share knowledge with New Zealanders to spark the creation of new knowledge and ideas.

The He Tohu exhibition experiences are now available in English, Te Reo Māori, Mandarin, French, German, Portuguese and NZSL, providing access in all three of New Zealand’s official languages.

This allows wider audiences to experience the stories of the iconic constitutional documents that shape Aotearoa: Te Tiriti o Waitangi, He Whakaputanga the Declaration of Independence and Te Petihana Whakamana Pōti Wahine the Women’s Suffrage Petition.

A culture of reading enhances literacy and knowledge

Establishment and appointment of Te Awhi Rito reading ambassador role

Ben Brown

Ben Brown (Ngāti Mahuta, Ngāti Koroki, Ngāti Paoa) is New Zealand’s first Te Awhi Rito Reading Ambassador. The Ambassador advocates for and champions the importance of reading in the lives of young New Zealanders, their whānau, and communities, and is helping to create a nation of readers.

Reading for pleasure is a key strategic goal for the National Library, and the Te Awhi Rito Reading Ambassador initiative is undertaken in collaboration with four foundation partners: Te Puna Foundation, Read New Zealand Te Pou Muramura, Creative New Zealand Toi Aotearoa, and Storylines Children’s Literature Charitable Trust Te Whare Waituhi Tamariki o Aotearoa.

Communities of Readers – South Dunedin Project

Communities of Readers is a National Library initiative engaging children and young people with reading for pleasure and wellbeing. There are currently four community partnership projects across Aotearoa New Zealand, made possible with funding from Te Puna Foundation.

The South Dunedin project focuses on tamariki aged three to seven, and their whānau. A communications campaign called Read Share Grow, Te Manu O Te Kupu was launched in October 2020 with a strong local theme that acknowledges the area, land, water and community. More than 15,000 books in languages reflecting the diversity of the community have been distributed for whānau to keep and share. These are available in more than 120 community organisations connected to the project.

Engagement activities are building an understanding of the lifelong value and impact of reading for pleasure. As noted by a local partner “It’s not just about books, it’s about people… it’s the people that are going to make it connect.”

New Zealand’s national and cultural identity is fostered and respected

Miharo Wonder – 100 years of Alexander Turnbull Library

In February 2021, the exhibition Mīharo | Wonder opened in the National Library Gallery in Wellington. This was made possible with substantial financial support from Te Puna Foundation and the Turnbull Endowment Trust.

With displays from a knife and fork purported to be from Captain Cook’s table to a fragment of a Guttenberg bible, the contents of Mīharo | Wonder attracted excellent visitor numbers and reviews.

Several of the exhibited treasures feature in the publication Te Kupenga, 101 Stories of Aotearoa from the Turnbull, published by Massey University Press and the Turnbull Endowment Trust. A complimentary copy of the book will be available to every high school in the country as New Zealand history becomes a core curriculum subject.

The show celebrated the centenary of the Alexander Turnbull Library with some 200 items assembled to inspire fascination and wonder. The exhibition and book concluded a celebration that started in 2018, with the anniversary of Alexander Turnbull’s founding bequest and continued through 2020 to mark the centenary of the Library’s opening.

Dominion Post reviewer, Mark Amery described Mīharo as impressive, curated “with intelligence, wit and care for the stories behind the objects.” Notwithstanding reduced opening hours due to changing COVID-19 alert levels, the exhibition and events programme attracted some 12,000 visitors in its first three months, with many more enjoying the show online.

Utaina! AV Preservation programme

The National Library holds 100,000 currently undigitised original audio-visual collection items in dozens of historical formats, and Archives New Zealand holds 15,000 items. This documentary heritage is threatened by obsolescence of playback equipment and age-related decay of audio-visual media. These threats make it very difficult and expensive to source and maintain playback equipment to digitise and preserve these fragile formats.

National Library, in conjunction with Ngā Taonga Sound and Vision have established a project address this challenge, called Utaina! This name comes from the catch cry coined by Sir Apirana Ngata, for the preservation of Māori language and heritage; meaning ‘load the precious cargo on board’. Planning is underway, and the collections are being prepared for digitisation, which will begin in early 2022.

Internal Affairs has procured a world class international vendor, Memnon, who will establish their business in New Zealand to digitise and preserve our collections to ensure they’re available for future generations.

Books in Māori Digitisation project

Between 1815 and 1900 over 1,600 publications were printed in te reo Māori. This rich source of nineteenth century te reo Māori includes posters, journals, bibles and dictionaries.

In 2020, the Library began to digitise publications that are unique to the Turnbull Library. The success of this pilot means that work is now underway to digitise the remaining publications.

A critical part of the work is consultation with descendants of individuals who wrote or who are the main subject of the publications.

Hand-in-hand with the digitisation and consultation work is development of the highly regarded Papers Past platform to deliver the content through a Te Ao Māori lens. Offering new methods of accessing taonga allows the understanding and sharing of New Zealand’s history and the creation of new knowledge that is reflective of the diversity in New Zealand.

Pacific Virtual Museum

Funded by the Australian government, the National Library of New Zealand, in collaboration with the National Libraries of Australia, is working across the Pacific to develop an online place for Pacific peoples to connect with their cultural heritage from around the world.

The Pacific Virtual Museum pilot team launched digitalpasifik.org in November 2020. Over 50 content partners, including museums, libraries, archives, galleries, NGOs and community organisations are sharing nearly 200,000 records, giving visibility and access to digitised heritage. Work continues to support existing partners and bring on new partners.

The site was built using Supplejack, the open source infrastructure developed by the National Libraries and co-designed with a range of Pacific experts completely online during the 2020 COVID-19 lockdown.

The project aims to empower people in, and of, the Pacific Islands, enabling them to see, discover and explore items of digitised cultural heritage that are held in collections around the world. People of the Pacific may not be aware these items or records exist, and the primary goal is to support their connection to these aspects of their own culture and history.

Taonga tuku iho is preserved and valued

Tāhuhu programme – Levin land purchase, Wellington Archive design, and Wairere House exit

The Tāhuhu Programme has recently acquired land in Taitoko/Levin for the development of a new specialised storage facility. This new building will help meet the growing storage needs of the National Library, Archives New Zealand and Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision. The new facility will hold low-use documentary heritage, including collection items that have been digitised and are accessible online, it will also cover audio-visual material, government records, books, microfilm, films and much more.

The Tāhuhu Programme has also progressed the design of a new Heke Rua Archives Wellington facility – located adjacent to the National Library.

Developing enduring relationships with mana whenua and iwi is critical to ensuring the unique rights and interests of tangata whenua are actively acknowledged and represented across the Tāhuhu work programme. This work has included:

  • A co-design partnership with Taranaki Whānui Te Atiawa and Pūkenga Toi Rangi Kipa on the Heke Rua Archives project.
  • Engaging with the Muaūpoko Tribal Authority in Taitoko to develop a memorandum of understanding to ensure mana whenua are represented throughout all phases of the Regional Shared Repository development.

What are our indicators telling us?

Results for some outcome indicators for 2020/21 are not available due to changes in survey timings and methodologies. We have sought alternative indicators wherever possible.

People’s sense of belonging to New Zealand comes from a sense of cohesion in the community and connection to local community. This means supporting our diversity and creating a New Zealand where all people feel safe, have equal access to opportunities and do not experience discrimination. “Building social cohesion, inclusion and valuing diversity can also be a powerful means of countering the actions of those who seek to spread or entrench discrimination and hatred”18

Following recommendations made by the Royal Commission of Inquiry into the Attack on Christchurch Mosques on 15 March 2019, the Office of Ethnic Communities was established as the Ministry for Ethnic Communities from 1 July 2021, as chief advisor to the Government on ethnic diversity, and the inclusion of ethnic communities in wider society. The Ministry was established with the view to build capability to support analysis and provide advice on the implications of New Zealand’s rapidly changing society, inform better policy making and enhance policy evaluation.

Ethnic communities in New Zealand continued to be directly supported through the Ethnic Communities Development Fund (ECDF), with $4.2 million of funding being fully disbursed to support a wide range of projects including multicultural events and initiatives relating to leadership and capability building, community sport, youth, language, and refugee and migrant services (refer to Ethnic Communities Development Fund). Over 2020-21, the Office of Ethnic Communities focused on supporting central and local government agencies and ethnic and faith communities to connect and engage with each other, as well as holding regular stakeholder meetings to help the Office grow its knowledge of, and relationships with, ethnic and faith communities (refer to Engagement with ethnic and faith communities and government). These activities build connections to, and cohesion within, local communities.

Internal Affairs is seeking to amend the definition of ‘objectionable’ in the Films, Videos, and Publications Classification Act 1993, to include racial superiority, racial hatred and racial discrimination.

The Community-led Development Programme (CLDP) is based on a community and Internal Affairs signing a five-year partnering agreement to work together on the community’s aspirations. In this partnership the Internal Affairs offers advice and support and works with other government agencies, tangata whenua, local authorities, funders, businesses and local organisations to support the community achieve their locally-led goals. As partnership communities put their community plans in place, they can request investment from the Community-led Development Fund to support them with their local initiatives and goals.

There are many examples of initiatives within CLDP that have built community connection and cohesion, including funding the Whanganui Awa to support the hapū to be connected via two-way radios and generators so that they are not isolated and are able to communicate effectively in the event of flooding or other events. In addition, a community safety project at Randwick Park, Manurewa that sought to make a local subway safer and reduce illegal dumping. The clean-up and associated street party resulted in neighbours meeting each other for the first time, despite some of them living in the area for nine years. They are now planning regular clean-ups, Neighbours Day activities and neighbourhood watch. Through CLDP Internal Affairs directly invests $4.5 million into communities and provides intensive community advisory support to the 18 communities with which it currently partners.

Internal Affairs has funded community activity through its Community Funding Schemes designed to support communities and voluntary sector organisations, so they become stronger, more cohesive and resilient, by providing financial support for communities and organisations for community development. The scheme made 2,952 grants through its 37 Local Distribution Committees, with a total of 3,861 requests considered. Examples of grants made include Te Herenga Waka o Orewa, a community marae which offers a unique opportunity for all community members regardless of ethnicity to participate in marae activities, and the Foundation Charitable Trust (Lifeline Aotearoa Helplines) to support operational costs to continue to provide free telephone counselling services to every New Zealander who requires it, 24 hours a day, 365 day a year (refer to Performance indicator 3.13).

The role of the National Library includes contributing to the collection, management and provision of access to knowledge and information for New Zealand and support to government accountability, including the collection, preservation, accessibility and integrity of New Zealand’s government and heritage information. During 2020-21 over 31.7 million items that are held by National Library and Archives New Zealand were accessed by the community (target 26.5 million) (see performance indicator 3.42).

Reading is a foundation for all literacies including digital literacy. Reading for pleasure, particularly for children, provides benefits such as literacy development, improved wellbeing and educational and employment success. Increases in literacy levels will improve creativity leading to new knowledge and potential innovation. National Library of New Zealand - Te Puna Mātauranga o Aotearoa has helped support literacy in schools through the services-to-schools programme (see Performance indicators 3.59, 3.60, and 3.61). The National Library’s Communities of Readers initiative includes research that will provide insights into successful reading engagement strategies for young people in different schools and communities.

Internal Affairs has promoted a growing sense of belonging and improving literacy within New Zealand through its agreements with local councils as part of the New Zealand Libraries Partnership Programme. This has committed funding to upskill 205 existing and new library staff through to June 2022. The programme has confirmed 174 people in fixed-term library roles who are already making an impact in their community. Eleven Strategic Partnership Grants have been awarded so far, totalling $5.024 million (refer to Case Study: New Zealand Libraries Partnership Programme).

The National Library is carrying out an extensive digitisation programme to enable publications and audio-visual content to be made readily accessible to the public, on-line, thus connecting them to their heritage. In 2020, the Library began to digitise publications that are unique to the Turnbull Library (refer to Books in Māori Digitisation project). The success of this pilot means that work is now underway to digitise the remaining publications. In addition, the National Library holds 100,000 currently un-digitised original audio-visual collection items in dozens of historical formats, and Archives New Zealand holds 15,000 items. National Library, in conjunction with Ngā Taonga Sound and Vision have established a project address this challenge, called Utaina! (refer to Utaina! AV Preservation programme) to preserve the collection and to enable the content to be made more readily accessible to the public.

Most New Zealanders preferred to engage in arts, culture and heritage in person rather than online. This preference for in-person engagement is especially strong among Māori and Pacific peoples, as well as women19. The Ministry of Culture and Heritage reports that 86% of adult New Zealanders watched a New Zealand-made news or sports broadcast, 79% watched a New Zealand-made programme, series or documentary, and 61% watched a New Zealand-made movie. In addition, 49% visited a library, 8% took part in a workshop or class to learn about a cultural activity, and 6% attended a literary arts event or book reading. The proportion of New Zealanders accessing locally created content could indicate increasing connection to the New Zealand community.

Satisfaction with citizenship services provided by Internal Affairs remains at a very high level, with nine out of ten rating their experience as satisfied or better20.

Read NZ - Te Pou Muramura24 reported, in 2018, that 442,600 Kiwis didn’t read a book in the past year, with fewer men reading books. The study reported that 86% of New Zealand adults had read or started to read at least one book in the past year, down from 88% the year before. The participants in this study reported reading more online sources than print, regardless of their age or gender. However, while online reading displaced traditional reading, it was not replacing it. Both formats continue to be read by most readers every week. The growth of online sources may help to grow reading. One in three participants in this study believed they were reading more now than ever before, because of the availability of online content and the ease and enjoyment gained from switching between materials. Others also reported finding online reading pleasurable.


18 Minister for Justice Kris Faafoi; 13 July 2021, https://nzfvc.org.nz/news/government-seeking-feedback-social-cohesion-and-proposals-address-hate-speech?utm_source=dlvr.it&utm_medium=twitter

19 https://mch.govt.nz/sites/default/files/projects/cultural-participation-research-2020.PDF

20 Satisfaction is rated on a scale from 1 to 5 with 1 = “Very Dissatisfied” and 5 = “Very Satisfied”.

24 https://www.read-nz.org/advocacy/research/?_sm_pdc=1&_sm_rid=3FPf1r2DJQvjrts4MZQRdV5ZJNPvSF1rPTSJSrP