The Last Film Search
From 1993 - 1999 the New Zealand Film Archive (now Ngā Taonga Sound and Vision), in partnership with BNZ embarked on an ambitious project: To locate and preserve New Zealand films of social and historical significance before they were lost forever.
Initially the project was aimed at capturing film on vulnerable nitrate but was soon extended to safety and small-gauge films which were also at high risk of degradation.
The 13 regional searches began with a film screening of locally relevant films already in the Film Archives collection. Film Archive staff then set up in the local BNZ branches to answer queries and assess films as they were dropped in. Film could be donated or copied and returned.
Within a year the best films collected from that area were compiled and shown to the local community through another film screening event.
The success of this seven year partnership meant that 7,000 new films were saved and made accessible through the NZ Film Archive.
Key to the project’s success was its unprecedented reach. Using the network of local BNZ branches, local knowledge and the goodwill generated the Film Archive had access to extensive community networks. In current times the power of the branch network is still used for a variety of community initiatives, such as the recent Love Grace appeal.