Lockdown collaboration project to be permanent part of oral history collection for Auckland Council Libraries

Publish Date : 25 Mar 2021
Lockdown collaboration project to be permanent part of oral history collection for Auckland Council Libraries
Image: Manatū Taonga, Ministry for Culture and Heritage.
Lockdown collaboration project to be permanent part of oral history collection for Auckland Council Libraries (1)
Manatū Taonga, Ministry for Culture and Heritage.

A collaboration project between Auckland Libraries and Manatū Taonga Ministry for Culture and Heritage launches a five-part podcast series today to commemorate one year since the level four lockdown.

Called ‘Kei Roto I Te Miru: Inside the Bubble’, the podcast series is a culmination of short oral histories that were collected by oral historians from various communities around the country.

A full collection of those stories will be held permanently as part of the Auckland Libraries Heritage Collection.

Councillor Cathy Casey, Auckland Councillor and Deputy Chair of the Parks, Arts, Community and Events Committee, says that having these oral histories in the library collection is a real tribute to the heritage staff.

“This valuable record of real voices and sounds from our communities during the COVID-19 crisis highlights the great work that Auckland Libraries heritage staff are doing to ensure future generations can learn from our history.”


‘Kei Roto I Te Miru: Inside the Bubble’ is the result of nine oral historians gathering thirty-five stories with Tangata Whenua, LGBTQI community members, rural Pākehā, health workers, musicians, new mums, Pacific Island New Zealanders, Northland community workers, Chinese New Zealanders, and many others.

Project Manager and Audio-Visual Historian Emma-Jean Kelly said that this was a project that evolved quite organically. “We just thought we’d encourage people to collect oral histories during lockdown.

“While somewhat unconventional, Zoom proved to be an effective way of gathering these stories while we were all socially distanced from one another.

“It was a chance to support communities through a tough time when we’d delayed the Oral History Award funding round. It meant in a small way we were keeping in contact, further exploring new technologies, and commissioning oral histories. But it became clear during our discussions that this could be something bigger, be shared wider, and published sooner than some oral history work. And so ‘Kei Roto I Te Miru: Inside the Bubble’ was born as a podcast series”, says Dr Kelly.

Permanent collection

Principal Oral History Advisor at Auckland Libraries Sue Berman and her team provided advice on best practice using online recording tools and agreed to accept the resulting collection for deposit and access purposes.

“This has been a creative partnership which has allowed the team to understand and negotiate the challenges of caring for oral histories into the future, as well as sharing them for publication in the present”, says Ms Berman.

“Having the full interviews as a permanent part of the oral history collection at Auckland Libraries means that they are accessible to the public now and preserved for our collective memory in the future.”

Auckland Libraries are continuing to collect COVID-19 related items – you can contact Principal Oral History Advisor Sue Berman Sue.Berman@aucklandcouncil.govt.nz if you have anything to share.

Read about Contemporary Collecting and discover some of the insights gathered already on the Auckland Council Libraries blog.

You can read more about the podcast at the Ministry’s website and you can tune in to listen to it weekly on Radio New Zealand’s ‘Nights with Bryan Crump’ from Monday 29 March.

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