Wellington Scoop

Archives NZ to take over Park Road Post’s film processing equipment

News from Park Road Post
Film processing facilities will move from Park Road Post Production in Miramar to Archives New Zealand’s Wellington office under an agreement which will ensure the continual preservation of New Zealand film.

Saving the nation’s historic film for all time is the reason Archives New Zealand and Park Road Post Productions have sealed a deal which sees essential laboratory equipment move to Archives New Zealand.

Archives New Zealand will set-up the new laboratory and work with Park Road staff to ensure the ongoing operation of the equipment and the film preservation service.

“The closure of the Park Road Post Production film lab created an outstanding opportunity for us to step in to ensure we continue to have the ability to preserve culturally significant film in this part of the world,” says Chief Archivist Greg Goulding.

“Without preservation work New Zealand’s heritage film, much of it produced by the former National Film Unit and in the care of Archives New Zealand, would be lost,” he said.

“We have been using the Park Road Post Production laboratory to convert unstable and deteriorating nitrate and acetate film onto more stable polyester stock – giving it a shelf-life of a further 200 to 300 years.

“Having this capability in-house means we can continue this work and upskill our own staff in this field.”

Park Road Post Production’s General Manager Cameron Harland said the move was a win-win situation for both organisations and he was delighted to see a new home for the preservation side of the laboratory secured.

Due to the few movie projects now being shot on film and the dwindling demand for film processing, Park Road had been forced to announce the closure of the lab in its current location at Park Road earlier this year.

Concerned about the vast collection of material that needed further Lab services discussions with Archives New Zealand were held. Donating the equipment, which is unique and valuable, to Archives New Zealand was discussed ultimately leading to the proposal to relocate the lab to the Archives facility in central Wellington.

“This will be the only colour film processing facility in Australasia and as such there is also potential for mutually beneficial public private partnerships for film processing work,” Cameron Harland said.

“Potentially this could provide support to the New Zealand educational and short film industry, some of whom are particularly passionate about using film rather than digital methods.

“We are grateful to Archives New Zealand for its commitment to the lab. In addition, this move also means an on-going service for film-makers and others who wish to use or process film in the future,” he said.

In March 2007 Archives New Zealand worked with Park Road Post to remaster the iconic film This is New Zealand which was produced by the National Film Unit for the New Zealand Commission promotion at Expo ’70 in Osaka, Japan. More recently Country Lads, telling the story of young men signing up for service in World War Two, the first film made by the National Film Unit in 1941 has been restored.

The new laboratory is expected to be open by November this year.