Putanga 3 – Mā te toi whenua me ngā maumahara tōpū o te iwi e piki ai te wairua manaaki o te katoa Outcome 3 – 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 Wā Hira - Highlights

  • Over 170,000 visits to the Any Questions National Library free online reference service for young people
  • We preserved 1,892 at-risk audio-visual or image items for future access
  • ‘In the Vault’ playlist was launched on all Air New Zealand international flights, a world first.

How we are driving change to deliver our outcomes

Collective memory is enhanced by New Zealand’s documentary heritage

A major priority for us over the next four years is the Tāhuhu programme, which will preserve our collective memory and create a national documentary campus connecting Archives New Zealand and the National Library.

Tāhuhu: Preserving the Nation’s Memory

The Tāhuhu programme received Cabinet’s support for the investment in the upgrade and expansion of the physical infrastructure and capacity for Archives New Zealand and the National Library of New Zealand.

The development of a new Archives Wellington facility and the signing of the Development Agreement for 2-12 Aitken Street was announced on 14 August 2019 by the former Minister of Internal Affairs, Hon Tracey Martin.

Tāhuhu aligns to both Outcome 3 and Outcome 4. The case study for Tāhuhu is featured under our outcome of ‘supporting a well-functioning democracy’. This can be found on page 43 of our print report.


Photograph: Kim Skelton, Peter Adds, Hon Tracey Martin, former Minister of Internal Affairs, Morrie Love and Deputy Chief Executive Peter Murray.

Our heritage collections are accessed and enhanced

Next time you fly internationally with Air New Zealand on one of their larger jets, tune in to a distinctively Kiwi and Pacific playlist. The high-profile new showcase for the Alexander Turnbull Library music collections, ‘In the Vault’, features a handpicked selection of tracks and whole albums, covering the gamut from pop to Māori concert parties, jazz to Polynesian sounds. As a collaboration between a national airline and national library, “In the Vault” is believed to be a world first and went live on 1 January 2020. We look forward to hearing feedback on this exciting new way to make Turnbull’s heritage music collections more accessible when long-haul flights resume regularly.

The Earle Riddiford collection

It was generously gifted to the Alexander Turnbull Library by Earle Riddiford’s four children in November 2019. Earle Riddiford was a New Zealand mountaineer, lawyer and farmer who was a leading figure in mountaineering expeditions to the Himalayas in the early 1950s.

The work to preserve our heritage collections continues, with 1,892 at-risk audio-visual and images digitised during the year to enable future access. COVID-19 restrictions at alert levels 3 and 4 limited access to the collections, resulting in fewer items preserved than previous years.

A total of 6.46 million files were added to the National Digital Heritage Archive and Government Digital Archive, representing a 22 percent increase in preservation storage. This continues the trend of increases in storage requirements for preservation of digital documentary heritage and public records.

Protecting author’s rights

The Public Lending Right for New Zealand Authors scheme compensates authors for copies of their books held in libraries. We completed the initial stages of a review of Public Lending Right following targeted consultation, resulting in the publishing of an issues paper. The impact of digital technologies was identified as underlying many of the issues with the scheme’s regulations, and responses also indicated strong support for school libraries and Blind Low Vision NZ to be included in the scheme.

Accessing our Archives

It’s one of Archives New Zealand’s strategic aims to take the nation’s archives to the people, rather than making them come into the reading rooms. In November 2019, Archives New Zealand announced a change to opening hours across its four reading rooms nationwide (Auckland, Wellington, Christchurch and Dunedin) as a one-year pilot. This change was in response to a significant increase in demand for online records, and a decrease in demand for physical records. Reducing the hours allows Archives New Zealand to put more energy into listing and digitising records and making them available online. This increases discoverability of and provides better access to our records for a greater number of users.

A culture of reading enhances literacy and knowledge

The National Library Strategic Directions has a central aspiration to grow a nation of readers. Reading for pleasure has proven benefits for both individuals and collective wellbeing, including comprehensive literacy, increased social and cultural capital, educational success and economic opportunity. The Community of Readers initiative is the first of the programmes to realise this aspiration and is outlined in the case study below.

Taonga Tuku Iho is preserved and valued

As holders of a wealth of historic Te Reo resources, the Department supports the Crown’s strategy Maihi Karauna for Māori language revitalisation.

We are also contributing to the whole-of-government response to the Wai 262 report Ko Aotearoa Tēnēi: A report into claims concerning New Zealand law and policy affecting Māori culture and identity. We have a significant role in Kete 1: Taonga Works me te Mātauranga Māori, as we hold extensive collections of taonga at both the National Library and Archives New Zealand, for which we are the stewards. Our Strategy for a Digital Public Service also encompasses Te Ao Māori principles and concepts to ensure digital government is inclusive for Māori.

Trusted citizenship and identity documents contribute to a sense of belonging

We continue to improve our services for our customers and in October 2019, adult applicants applying for New Zealand citizenship by grant had the option to do this online. There has been great uptake for the digital option, with over half of our customers choosing this option so far.

We provide data around death notifications and registrations to support decision-making across the wider public service and community. Pre-COVID-19 this data was supplied to Statistics New Zealand for publishing quarterly, this is now published weekly.

Modernising marriages

The marriage licence application and payment process went online in 2018, making it easier for couples, who no longer need to visit one of the 47 registry offices (mostly courthouse-based) to apply.

The online service was so popular that our network of courthouse registry offices was no longer needed and instead, we arranged for verified celebrants appointed by the Registrar-General to do simple registry-style ceremonies in areas outside New Zealand’s main cities.

In March, COVID-19 began to significantly impact our public counters and the way we provide our services. We brought forward the December deadline and worked to introduce new registry style weddings as soon as possible. Our people contacted couples who had registry weddings booked or had applied for a marriage licence to explain their options, worked with celebrants to communicate the changes, and updated our systems behind the scenes.

Performing marriages at our sites was a heart-warming part of our work, but we’re proud to make things easier for New Zealanders and pass the job over to approximately 130 celebrants throughout the country, from Kerikeri to Invercargill.

Couples who had planned to get married during lockdown cancelled or postponed their New Zealand weddings. The Registrar General provided a refund on all marriage licences for the couples who couldn’t use their licence as planned within its three-month eligibility period. The team processed 1,200 more requests for refunds since mid-March 2020, more than we had received over several years.

Apply for citizenship by grant online

What are our indicators telling us?

Satisfaction with citizenship services has been maintained at a very high level. Citizenship is an important marker of belonging in New Zealand and maintaining high satisfaction with this service shows we are making the process as positive and engaging as possible for people acquiring citizenship.

For three of our indicators there is not yet data to show the trend over time. We have used alternative indicators where possible to supplement these indicators, so we have a trend over time.

For time spent reading, the time use survey, which is scheduled for 2020, has not yet been completed. To get an alternative view, we have looked at the proportion of adults surveyed who had read a book in the past year from the Read New Zealand Te Pou Muramura survey and this tells us that there has only been a slight reduction year on year from 88% to 86% of all surveyed adults.

People’s sense of belonging to New Zealand has been measured once and this gives a high result of 89%. To seeks a trends, indicator relating to sense of belonging, we have used data from two measures in the General Social Survey relating to loneliness and generalised trust. This alternative indicator shows a slightly lower overall result (77% compared to 89% with a sense of belonging) but this rate has been steady over time.

We have not been able to identify an alternative indicator for people’s participation in cultural activities, so we only have one year of results, which shows a participation rate of 78%. We have looked at people’s ability to express identity as an alternative indicator for this outcome. This indicator shows a consistently high proportion of people finding it easy to express their identity.

Mother and child reading


Communities of Readers

Not everyone in New Zealand has equal opportunity to develop a love of reading. There are inequities in access to books, libraries, expertise, support and reading role models.

Pukana Exhibition at Alexander Turnbull library


Alexander Turnbull Library - ATL 100 Pūkana Exhibition

Performance is at the heart of Māori culture and the way Māori engage with each other and the world. The Pūkana, moments in Māori performance exhibition showcased and celebrated excellence in Māori performance, as represented in the collections of the Alexander Turnbull Library. The exhibition opened in September 2019 and marked the year bridging both 100 years since Alexander Turnbull’s gift to the nation in 1918, and the 100th anniversary of the Library’s opening to the public in 1920.