Welcome to WAC in Wellington

By Peter McKinney, Digital Preservation Policy Analyst at the National Library of New Zealand and the Chair of the IIPC 2018 General Assembly and Web Archiving Conference Organising Committee

National Library of New Zealand Te Puna Mātauranga o Aotearoa.

I remember my first time in New Zealand. It was wonderful. But I do remember commenting to my partner, as we sat on the tarmac in Auckland, that I couldn’t live here as it was too far away from anything (I lived in Scotland at the time).

Just over a year later I moved to Wellington.

I’m not sure whether this shows my unerring ability to change my mind at a whim, or the strength of what I found over here. I hope the latter. The travel for visitors is well worth it. Wellington and New Zealand are amazing. And while the work of the National Library has attracted a number of us to come and live our lives here, it is the country that makes it home.

It is therefore my great honour to be part of the team that is welcoming you here. The National Library of New Zealand feels greatly priveleged to be hosting this year’s IIPC General Assembly and Web Archiving Conference. The Library has received great benefit from being a member of the IIPC over the years and to be able to entice members and the wider web archiving community all the way down to the South Pacific is an amazing opportunity for us. We can open up participation to those who just have not been able to travel those distances up to the northern hemisphere. It is also a great chance for us to show off what we have down here.

I have two primary responsibilities in my role as Chair of the Organising Committee. The first is to ensure that IIPC members have a productive week. This means providing a comfortable environment where members can get their business done and enjoy everything Wellington has to offer. My second responsibility is that “locals” (New Zealanders and our pacific neighbours) are able to take advantage of the experience and expertise that will be converging at the Library; this is a precious opportunity that will not come round again in the foreseeable future.

The website has a host of information about the GA and WAC, and I encourage you to check it out (and get in touch if need more information). Alex Thurman has written about the work of the programme committee pulling together what is a brilliant selection of papers, panels, posters, tutorials and workshops. Gillian Lee has also covered off what it means to staff in the National Library to be able to have the IIPC event down here in Wellington.

Personally, I can’t wait to hear from our keynote speakers (Rachael Ka’ai-Mahuta and Wendy Seltzer). They have been asked to challenge us and make us pause and consider what the future of web archiving may look like. Vint Cerf needs no introduction and we are incredibly grateful that he has accepted our invitation to share his current thinking with us. We’re also having a public event on Tuesday, which we will be announcing in the next few weeks.

The week will be busy and hopefully, productive and inspiring. I also can’t encourage you enough to explore Wellington and beyond if you have time. There is, of course plenty of time to sleep on the plane on the way back!

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