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The Treasury Research Centre and Archive in Thames. Photo: TERESA RAMSEY

Doors may shut for The Treasury in Thames

Thames’ Treasury Research Centre and Archive is facing potential closure, after failing to secure funding for its operations.
The trust needs to raise $81,600 by mid-August, which will keep its doors open until November. By then, manager Katherine Quinn hopes they’ll have had time to find some sustainable funding solutions.
“The reality is that operating an archive is very expensive, even if it was entirely volunteer run. We have a lot of costs that other heritage organisations don’t,” Katherine said.
“We run a very lean organisation but there are some things we can’t cut costs on.”
Until now, the non-profit group has operated mainly from external community funding sources such as the Lottery Grants Board, the Community Organisation Grants Scheme and community gaming trusts. It also receives regular funding from Thames-Coromandel and Hauraki district councils, and collects membership fees and donations from the public.

“We apply to everyone but they’re all contestable funding grants,” Treasury trustee Lise Cook said.
“Obviously the funding climate has changed, a lot of the pools of funding that we go for are really oversubscribed at the moment.
“Basically it means that once we are out of funding, we are out of funding. There are a number of things we are doing at the moment as a board to try not to let that happen, but the reality of the situation is, we are fully dependent on external funders.”
Ongoing costs make up a bulk of the trust’s expenses.
The specialist-built, temperature- and humidity-controlled archive costs $12,000 a year to run; paid, trained archivists are needed to process the roughly 60 per cent of records yet to be catalogued and digitised.
Unexpected expenses have also cropped up – $40,000 is needed to replace the about-to-expire fire suppression system, and the ageing IT system needs a $55,000 upgrade to keep up with the workload. “We haven’t made any decisions on closure and won’t until we have a clearer idea of whether we’ve been successful in our short-term fundraising,” Katherine said.
“The final decision will be dictated by the amount of funding we have available. We will need to have guaranteed ongoing funding even if we have to cut back on some services and focus on keeping the archived collections safe.”
The Treasury’s role is to collect, house, and preserve oral and paper-based records detailing the history of people, organisations and businesses in the surrounding districts.
Its area of interest is vast, stretching from the top of the Coromandel Peninsula, across the Hauraki Plains and southwards to Te Aroha.
These records are made available for researchers and members of the public, and the Treasury has plans to catalogue and digitise the entire collection to make it accessible online.
“This place contains a lot of local history, a lot of intrinsic knowledge that needs to be shared,” Lise said.
“We want people to use the resources that we have. And for us, seeing people discover family connections, finding their stories, is priceless.”
What the Treasury wanted now, Lise said, was for people to show their support by becoming a member or volunteer, buying a book about the local history, or simply popping in to see what the organisation was all about.
“With history you don’t know what you don’t have until it’s gone,” she said.
“[We] have the opportunity to tell the stories that are in here in a really cool and engaging and modern way … but it all costs money.”
For now, the organisation’s priority is to keep the archive building going to protect all the collections inside it, Lise said.
“Supporters have contributed $15,000 of donations in the last month. We’re really grateful for that support and we just want to say thank-you.”
DETAILS: The Treasury is open 11am-3pm, Monday, Thursday, Friday and 10am-2pm on Saturdays. Visit to support their fundraising campaign.