Chief archivist Paula Paniani is pleased. “This machine has made such a difference for us, it’s great to work with, it’s very sensitive, accurate and very efficient.”
Along with archivist Tui Tupa, they are in the process of scanning the issues of Cook Islands News and transferring to computer files. By yesterday afternoon they had finished the year 1957 to 1958, a total of 678 pages.
Transferring these documents on to computer files makes it easier and quicker to access when needed.
Paniani, who manages and maintain documents and other materials that have historical importance, said you had to have a passion and an interest in history and information to enjoy the job.
Reading through the old newspapers was exciting: “They held information on what was happening during those times, the events, social functions, buildings and photographs of people, it’s like learning all over again.”
When the newspapers have all been scanned, the Archives Department will then move on to work on other documents.
For researchers this is welcoming news and will minimise the time frame of exploring topics.
The first Premier of the Cook Islands, the late Albert Henry was responsible for establishing the National Archives in 1974.
The Archives Research Officer Tom Tixier administered the department then, assisted by George Paniani.
In August 1975, the department moved to the Library and Museum Society building, in April 1987, the National Archives under the control of Archivist George Paniani was moved to Takuvaine Valley; Kauraka Kauraka joined the team in 1988 as Principal Archivist until 1990 when he was transferred to the Anthropology Division.
In that same year, the National Archives went under the umbrella of the Ministry of Cultural Development – Tauranga Vananga.