Volunteers preserve history
BY BRENDA VOWDEN
Hasting’s historical homestead Stoneycroft is spilling out family secrets.
A dedicated group of volunteers is helping create a Knowledge Bank, the brainchild of former Hawke’s Bay Herald Tribune editor James Morgan and begun at the end of 2012. Friends of Hawke’s Bay Knowledge Bank volunteer Barbara Haywood says people donate their family histories, which are then processed and given back.
“It’s digitising Hawke’s Bay history – to make it available to anyone, anywhere – it’s for families.”
Barbara says the website is being uploaded all the time but they are limited by the amount of volunteers they have.
“We’re not short of material – but we always want more work.”
Boxes of material on loan are sorted, scanned, evaluated and captioned by around 40 people, ﬁve days a week. One box waiting in line is a handwritten history of Stortford Lodge, another chronicles the Scouts in Hawke’s Bay, with Crownthorpe’s 50th and 75th jubilees jostling for their turn. “Someone gave us all their pictures of Hawke’s Bay on glass plates.”
The major project Knowledge Bank has been working on is recording all the issues of Hawke’s Bay Photo News from 1958 to 1972. The ﬁrst stage to digitise all of the magazines began last year, with the second stage to copy the text to a searchable format, enabling browsers to search through the thousands of Hawke’s Bay names mentioned in photo captions – featuring weddings, jamborees, sporting and school events, blossom festivals, city celebrations and A&P shows – a mammoth task. The third stage of the project is to upload all the images to the Knowledge Bank website, making the magazines digitally available.
Barbara gives high praise to technical support person Rachel Johnson and programmer John Newson, who work at Stoneycroft during the week to make sure all systems are go.
“They are like gold – very, very good. Anything we do here meets the standards of the National Library.”
A raft of used technical equipment has been donated to the group, including computers, scanning equipment and an overhead camera
“It’s a massive job – if we don’t start, we can’t finish.”
Stoneycroft, Omahu Rd, open to the public daily, 10am-3pm.
Photo caption – VOLUNTEERS: John Newson and Rachel Johnson provide technical support to knowledge bank.
PHOTO: PAUL TAYLOR