About Us

The Knowledge Bank is a digital record of Hawke’s Bay and its people which continues to grow as more of our residents donate material from times past to be digitised and uploaded to this public website. Wherever possible, the Knowledge Bank provides the full original digitised files, free for non-commercial use under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 New Zealand License.


There is a wealth of fading photographs, letters, recordings and much more stashed away in old shoeboxes and family collections. Most of it doesn’t belong in a museum, but it is most certainly worth keeping. Modern technologies allow us to capture and preserve this valuable community resource for future generations on a much larger scale and at a lower cost than preserving the physical objects.


The first step is ‘digitising’ or capturing the information from whatever format it is in now – photographic glass plates, film, photographs, or even as memories in someone’s head. We then put the electronic copy into a digital archive – preserving as much information as we can. Finally, we invite everyone to contribute their own knowledge to the ‘bank’. At the bottom of each listing there is a panel where, if you know something about the particular record, you can put your comments. This adds to the pool of information that is available to everyone.


Fittingly, the Knowledge Bank is housed in historic Stoneycroft Homestead, a Victorian-style colonial home built in 1875. Originally the residence of Taihape Rd farmer W J Birch, it was acquired by Hastings District Council from Joyce Ballantyne in 2005 in recognition of its historical importance. Mrs Ballantyne, who had owned the property with her late husband Dr Diamond Allan (Allan) Ballantyne, was determined that the home be preserved and so arranged a covenant over it with Heritage New Zealand (formerly the Historic Places Trust), to ensure its originality was retained. The house, set in 2.5 hectares, is registered as a Category II Historic Building with Heritage New Zealand. Hawke’s Bay Digital Archives Trust volunteers were heavily involved in the fundraising and physical work that brought the building up to the standard it is today, and the trust continues to be responsible for the maintenance of the building.


The Knowledge Bank is overseen by the Hawke’s Bay Digital Archives Trust. The board members serve voluntarily, as do all 80-plus volunteers involved in the recording, digitising and uploading of material. Overseen by an administrator and a technical support person, the project was first envisaged by James Morgan who formed a trust which included himself, Peter Dunkerley, Dr David Barry, Angus Gordon, and Heugh Chappell, all of whom wanted to ensure that the collective memory of Hawke’s Bay was not lost. They realised that new technologies meant the fascinating records and memories of day-to-day life in the district could be stored and shared relatively inexpensively, making them available to today’s residents and the coming generations.

The current board members (2024) are Peter Dunkerley, Barry Cole and Ronda Chrystal.

Annual Reports

View all Hawke’s Bay Digital Archives Trust annual reports

A short introduction