25 May 2014

Digitising Wildlife Sounds

From Standing Room Only, 1:45 pm on 25 May 2014

Achivist Stefanie Lash and AV Preservation Technician Rosie Rowe
Achivist Stefanie Lash and AV preservation technician Rosie Rowe.

"He must have been fit," says AV preservation specialist Rosie Rowe, who has been working on the digitisation process of more than 300 reels of John Kendrick's audio tapes at Archives New Zealand.

Kendrick tackled some rugged terrain in order to capture the sounds of our native wildlife and the proof is in the 'metadata' that he noted along with each recording; he lists the date, location, time, and states the name of each individual species.

Transferring the audio onto a digital format is a process that has taken many months of playing back the audio reels in  real time. To the delight of the team at Archives New Zealand and those who are keen to access the files, there are plenty of surprises in store. The tuatara is a particularly special find — who would have thought that this mysterious creature could even make a sound?

The project is one of immense value and Rowe took it upon herself to manage the project from beginning to end. Though she's only gotten to know Kendrick through his recordings, his personality shines through – "he was a gutsy guy," she says.

The collection can be found by heading to the Archives New Zealand's Archway online search engine for accessing records.

People are also welcome to call into Archives New Zealand's Wellington office at 10 Mulgrave Street to check out the original files.