What is Memory of the World?

UNESCO launched the Memory of the World programme in 1992. Memory of the World aims to recognise significant documentary heritage in a similar fashion to the way UNESCO's World Heritage Convention and World Heritage List recognises significant natural and cultural sites.

The vision of the Memory of the World programme is that the world's documentary heritage belongs to all, should be fully preserved and protected for all and, with due recognition of cultural mores and practicalities, should be permanently accessible to all without hindrance.

The International Memory of the World Register, administered by UNESCO, seeks to identify items of documentary heritage which have worldwide significance. It aims to bring the value and significance of documentary heritage to wider public notice, along with the work performed by libraries, archives and museums in preserving this valuable heritage. The specific objectives of the Memory of the World Programme are:

Read more on the UNESCO website.

What is happening in New Zealand?

The New Zealand Memory of the World Programme is one of over 60 Memory of the World programmes worldwide. It was established in 2010 by the New Zealand National Commission for UNESCO. The Establishment Committee's members have a broad knowledge of New Zealand’s heritage institutions and communities.

The New Zealand programme aims to:

The New Zealand Memory of the World Programme operates within the regional framework of MOWCAP, the Memory of the World Committee for Asia/Pacific.

We would like to thank the UNESCO Australia MOW for the assistance they have given their NZ colleagues to set up the UNESCO NZ MOW programme.

How to nominate material to the New Zealand register

Everything you need to know is on the nomination page.

What is the World's Memory?

Documentary heritage listed on the Memory of the World registers at international, national and regional level reflects the diversity of events, cultures and languages. It also takes many shapes and forms. It includes the remaining nine minute fragment of Australia's first narrative film 'The Story of the Kellly Gang' (1906), the Treaty of Waitangi (1840), China's Golden Lists of the Qing Dynasty Imperial Examination (1667-1903), records of Indian indentured labourers in Fiji (1879-1960), Europe's first printed book the Gutenberg bible and Fritz Lang's film 'Metropolis' (1927).

For more information and examples, see: