Pandora Research - Background
Establised 01 September 2014

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Pandora's Box (1990-1997) - last updated 17 Oct 2014

This is mostly a collection of abridged transcripts of manuscripts held at Archives New Zealand and the intention is to increase awareness of the Wellington Office collection. With a yearning to better use the years of acquired research knowledge and experience, the decision was made in June 2014 to spend time searching through collections of undescribed records held at Archives New Zealand. While doing so improved inventories will be generated and for records particularly rich in details partial or full transcripts may also be made.

In the first instance New Zealand Company records have been chosen due to the richness of a significant group of manuscripts that are under-represented in published histories. Suggestions for looking at other sets of records are welcome especially if this would provide assistance to researchers working on 19th century NZ history projects. Help with genealogical research is also offered.

The passion to build resources for researchers of 19th Century New Zealand emerged in the early 1990s. Initial efforts focused on indexing official publications and the resulting index, called Pandora's Box, was donated to the New Zealand Society of Genealogists in 1997.

Two years later the www.nzpictures.co.nz website was established and over the years genealogical and historical data along with various images has been built and rebuilt into the form that it takes today.

In 2006 the transcription of New Zealand Government inwards correspondence registers, held at Archives New Zealand, was commenced and is now one of the core resources making up Pandora Research.

About one million letters were written to the New Zealand Government between 1840 and 1900. These are generally recorded in registers and most communities will be represented within the many thousands of letters that have survived. A few of the registers have been transcribed. In the last year or so more than half a million items have been added to Archway. These are mainly the results of a concentrated effort to better describe the correspondence collection. Much applause!

There are many other records in the Wellington Office collection that have to date escaped item level description. Achieving this at the level of excellence attained by the Alexander Turnbull Library is simply beyond the resources available to Archives NZ.

The Alexander Turnbull Library has ~1.2 million items and ~95% are described in Tiaki. Archives NZ has ~13 million items and there are ~6 million entries in Archway. Many of the entries listed in Archway represent 'collections' of items.

The approximate percentage of holdings for the Archives NZ Offices are:
Wellington (60%), Auckland (25%), Christchurch (11%), Dunedin (5%)

Article: The Register Room: Mining Gems from Inwards Correspondence
by Thomasin Sleigh and Heidi Kuglin
In: Genealogy Absolutely Positively 2007 Conference Proceedings


Articles by Dawn Chambers Letters to the New Zealand Government 10 June 1886
In: Genealogical Research Institute of New Zealand (GRINZ) Yearbook 2000

Assisted Immigration to Nelson 1855-1871
In: Centred on Nelson 2005 NZ Society of Genealogists Conference Proceedings

Article: The Wainuiomata Bush Lokey named “Pio Pio” (Jan 2016)
Article: Ward Family Origins, Wheathampstead, Hertfordshire, England (Dec 2016)
Brief CV Details:

Dawn Chambers
Born Opunake, Taranaki; Dairy Farm background
Education - Opunake Primary School; Opunake High School
Massey University - 1986 BSc Microbiology & Genetics

Employment 1986-2014 DSIR & GNS Science
(Cancer research technician; Administrator Rafter Radiocarbon Laboratory)

Voluntary Genealogical Activites
1990-1997 Pandora's Box
1999 to current www.nzpictures.co.nz
2006-2014 Pandora's Box 2
2012-2015 Hutt Valley Biographical Index and Genealogies (HBIG)
2014 to current Pandora Research (full time volunteer)