May 19, 2021

Maori News & Indigenous Views

Chch earthquake catalyst for Ngai Tahu digitizing whakapapa

2 min read


Ngai Tahu digitises it’s records for safe keeping.

In 1996 Ngai Tahu were awarded $NZ170 million and the ability to purchase property from the Crown in a major settlement with the NZ Government, redressing not only the land deals that had gone awry due to greedy land speculators and missionaries, but the cultural and historic grievances that culminated during British colonisation in the nineteenth century.

There is now over $NZ600 million of property and funds administered by Ngai Tahu, which has over 250 employees and helps fund scholarships and charitable work on behalf of the tribe.

Establishing membership of Ngai Tahu requires that a person demonstrate their genealogy stretching back to the original 1848 Census, known as the ‘Blue Book’.

All of the hardcopy records establishing the membership of Ngai Tahu were stored as hard copy documents in a building in Christchurch, and could not be accessed in the immediate aftermath of the 2011 earthquake.

Donald Harman, SharePoint Administrator for Ngai Tahu, said the experience of learning how vulnerable the documents were saw the development of a business case to digitise the documents into SharePoint 2010.

Once its in SharePoint we can protect it and share it back with the wider whanau.

A business case was developed to digitise the whakapapa records, as well as all of Ngai Tahus legal documents and contracts. There are over 12,000 records in the Whakapapa genealogical database. which are now being scanned on 2 machines by two staff who can input up to 3000 a day each.

The scanning workflow is now applied to all applications for enrolment onto Ngai Tahu register of descendants of the original tribe.

Once they are scanned, individual records can be viewed from within the CRM. The scanned PDFs are contained in the SharePoint 2010 document repository and are searchable.

Metadata is automatically applied to each document upon scanning.

The solution was designed to require minimal manual input of metadata when scanning at the MFD.

The list of documents related to each individual is extensive and typically includes the Whakapapa registration form, Birth Certificate, Marriage Certificate, Whai Rawa and Tax Certificate.

It is an intuitive, flexible system which increases user adoption.

Once the genealogical records and legal contracts have been captured, Ngai Tahu will explore the potential to also utilise the solution for accounts payable and other functions such as HR.

Fuji Xerox NZ and Ngai Tahu presented this Case Study at the 2012 New Zealand SharePoint Conference in Auckland.

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