West Coast NZ History: Community in Action!

The latest Recollect site is a labour of love from a dedicated community – lead by our very own camera operator, Heather Newby. On 22 May 2014, Heather started a Facebook group to share her photos and memories of growing up on NZ’s West Coast. The idea of a group that allowed Coasters who were ‘scattered, and had lost touch with each other’ to reconnect and share interesting photos, articles, anecdotes and general historical tit-bits’ was popular one, and within just a few weeks there were 1500 members.

Fast forward to early 2015

The group, now at over 7000 members, is too popular for the Facebook Group platform to cope. Since the contributions were only displayed on the timeline news feed and unable to be catalogued, sorted, or effectively searched, photographs and information was getting lost. Even a few hours later it was difficult to locate ‘that photo I saw earlier’; worse it looked like some may have completely vanished. It was obvious a new solution was needed – and Recollect was it.
With a kick-start fund from a generous benefactor, hours of work from a core group of volunteers, and some clever development work to extract the majority of the contributions (around 8000 images!) from the Facebook group page, the new West Coast NZ History website launched on 23 May 2015 with an article in the Greymouth Star (see attached images from paper and online editions). The new site, based on the Recollect platform, offers all the benefits of the group page (community contributions of photos and stories, image tagging, ‘liking’ an item, commenting on a contribution) but with full searchability and ongoing management of the content. This means the site offers many ways for visitors to search or browse content using subject tags, dynamic menus, map links and watching latest uploads.

Give a Little

One of the unique aspects of this site is that is owned and run by a passionate community of volunteers. However they do need some help to fund their treasure trove of history. Go and visit the site, and please use the givealittle link to donate a few dollars to their cause.
The NZMS team are very proud of what Heather has done here. We say we’re all about preserving NZ’s history, and this shows that this is a philosophy the team members live by in their personal lives, not just when they turn up at work. And that’s why we love what we do.