UNESCO memory of the world

Important papers belonging to Sir John Logan Campbell were inscripted on to the UNESCO Memory of the World Aotearoa New Zealand documentary heritage register in 2016, the highest-level recognition worldwide for archives and documentary heritage. 

UNESCO recognition draws attention to the significance of documentary heritage and the institutions that are their custodians. Inscription on the register raises awareness of the custodian’s institutions and helps ensure the inscribed items are protected, preserved and accessible.

Sir John was a diligent preserver of documents, which bear upon the story of his life and that of Auckland. These papers along with those of the Sir John Logan Campbell Residuary Estate are in the Auckland War Memorial Museum and remain a treasured part of Auckland’s cultural heritage because of their diverse scope and rich historical worth.

It took 10 years of work to establish and digitise the Campbell Papers, which was managed by Cornwall Park's former Heritage Manager Philippa Price alongside archivists and in close partnership with Auckland Museum.

When the papers were inscripted on to the register, Cornwall Park Trust Board chair Adrienne Young-Cooper travelled to Wellington with Professor Russell Stone, who has written many books on Auckland and on the life and times of Sir John, and Nina Finigan from the museum, to accept the inscription on behalf of the board. A framed copy is on display at the museum. 

The Treaty of Waitangi was the first Aotearoa New Zealand inscription. Others include the Katherine Mansfield Literary and Personal Papers, held by the Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington, and the Lancelot Eric Richdale Papers documenting early research into New Zealand seabirds, at the Hocken Library, Dunedin.

These documentary heritage collections are excellent sources of research for historians, researchers, educators and many others in the wider community.

UNESCO launched the Memory of the World Programme in 1992. It sits alongside the World Heritage List and Register of Intangible Cultural Heritage. The Aotearoa New Zealand Programme was established in 2010. 

Further information about Memory of the World and the inscriptions on the register can be found here.

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