Tongan fieldwork from Anthropology Photographic Archive

Finding a world of Māori and Pacific sound

The Archive of Māori and Pacific Sound (AMPS) has been around for a long time, gathering and caring for recordings from all around Aotearoa and throughout the Pacific, and providing access to those recordings to communities and researchers. 

In the pre-digital age discovery and access revolved around printed catalogues, card indexes, and the receiving of blank cassettes which would be filled and posted back. As access technologies advanced, a bespoke website was developed which served the archive well for many years and made recordings easier to find. 

Tongan fieldwork from Anthropology Photographic Archive

Manuscripts and Archives database

Now, the archive is migrating to a new platform that also hosts records of the other archival collections held within the Cultural Collections group. From the Manuscripts and Archives database researchers will be able to browse AMPS’ repository holdings, or search for terms or individuals and see what is available across all repositories’ holdings. 

Currently there are 108 individual collections identified in the AMPS repository. Whilst many just show the collection title – the existence of a collection, work is well under to enhance these records to a high level of detail (e.g. historical background, tape and performer information, etc.). 

Wendy Pond and Garth Rogers Kingdom of Tonga recordings

A fitting example of an enhanced record, for Tongan Language Week, is the ‘Wendy Pond and Garth Rogers Kingdom of Tonga recordings’. These recordings represent fieldwork and research conducted between 1967-1975, with Garth interested in political action, social relations and ideologies in the outlier Niuafo’ou and Niuatoputapu, and Wendy focusing on Tongan performance art. 

Although much of this collection is awaiting digitisation, it highlights the rich depth of material soon to be easily visible through the Manuscripts and Archives platform, with plenty more to come – watch this space! 

William Hamill, Team Leader, Cultural Collections, Archive of Māori and Pacific Sound