UNESCO believes that the world’s documentary heritage belongs to all, should be fully preserved and protected for all and, with due recognition of cultural mores and practicalities, should be permanently accessible to all without hindrance.
UNESCO launched the Memory of the World programme in 1992. This programme aims to recognise significant documentary heritage in a similar fashion to the way UNESCO’s World Heritage Convention and World Heritage List recognises significant natural and cultural sites.
The International Memory of the World Register, administered by UNESCO, seeks to identify items of documentary heritage which have worldwide significance. It aims to bring the value and significance of documentary heritage to wider public notice, along with the work performed by libraries, archives and museums in preserving this valuable heritage.
The specific objectives of the Memory of the World Programme are to:
We established the New Zealand Memory of the World Programme in 2010. It is one of over 60 Memory of the World programmes worldwide. The New Zealand programme is managed by a Committee which includes heritage experts from a range of organisations.
The New Zealand programme aims to:
The programme operates within the regional framework of MOWCAP, the Memory of the World Committee for Asia/Pacific.
Three New Zealand items are inscribed on the international register – the Treaty of Waitangi, the Women’s Suffrage Petition and the Sir Edmund Hillary Archive.
There are currently 51 items on the New Zealand register including: