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Frequently Asked Questions

About West Coast New Zealand History

The wonderful photos and memories you see on this site started out on Facebook.  
In May 2014, a Facebook Group was set up where people could share historic photos of the West Coast (South Island) of New Zealand, and reminisce. One year on, the Facebook group was a victim of its success, with so much being contributed each day that photos were getting lost, and it was very difficult to find pictures that came through the feed even a couple of days later - let alone after weeks or months.  The administrators of the Facebook group decided we needed a place to store a lot of photos, professionally, but somewhere with the ability to catalogue them and search them to make them easy to find.  We also wanted to 'futureproof' the contributions by controlling copyright, we needed plenty of spare storage for future collections, and we still wanted to keep some of the social tools that Facebook offered - for example 'liking' a photo, adding a comment, or correcting or adding to the descriptions.  In winter 2015, this website was launched.

Frequently asked questions:

Where do the photos come from?
Most photos are posted onto our (private) Facebook group page by a huge range of individuals (note this is a private group so you will need to ask to join - but the only reason it is private is to stop it clogging up members' news feeds).
Others are donated by people keen to see their own photos preserved, and enjoyed by others. If the photos are hard copy, and not digital, administrators scan them in, then upload then.
Why do you need to raise $25,000?
The site is designed to still be here for future generations, and because Recollect is a professional product used by national museums, libraries, and businesses it gives us the ability to upload high resolution images and generate smaller, web-friendly versions of them (while keeping our original file safe).  We specifically chose this platform because it is a professional product and doesn't take over the rights to our photographs, but because it is a professional product there is a financial outlay involved.  
Recollect is powered by NZMS (New Zealand Micrographic Services) and they have been very supportive of our group. They recognised that it is much easier to fundraise for something that can be seen rather than a concept, so they set up the site for us, created a design, provide us with ongoing support, and they even found a way for us to retrieve most of the photos and comments from the Facebook Group (did you know Facebook group pages can't be archived like personal and business pages can?), and they provide us with ongoing support.  The target of 25,000 is to cover the initial set up of the site, and the subscription, storage and support for several years. It sounds a lot, but with over 8000 members in the group we figured the price of a cup of coffee per member will set us up.
We are very grateful to The Blackadder Trust on the West Coast, who got onboard and generously donated $2000.  
Who is doing the rest of the work?
The job of checking and cataloguing the photos then fell to a group of volunteer administrators living all over New Zealand, who love West Coast history. All are either from the Coast, or live on the Coast. Most administrators work daily clocking up thousands of volunteer hours. All work on their computers, and pay for their own internet use. 
Who owns the pictures?
Once they go on Recollect, they are accessible for everyone to see and interact with. Contributors can retain their ownership of their photos, or they can choose a 'creative commons' option where they allow others to use or share photos with specific restrictions (for example, no commercial use).  No pictures are sold on, and no revenue gathered – these are West Coast pictures for everyone to enjoy.  
If you do not want your photo shared, you may want to consider instead donating it to a museum and asking for restrictions to be place on its distribution. 
Why not stick with Facebook? It's free
The pictures were disappearing off Facebook as the page grew and thousands and thousands of photos were uploaded. Precious memories accompanying the photos were lost forever. The new site is here to stay, can be searched, and is a resource for teachers, historians and genealogists.
How can I upload a photo?
We welcome all contributions.  Just click on the 'contribute' menu tab on the left side of your screen (here's a screenshot of where you'll find it).
There are two ways you can contribute:
  • you can share your photos with us,  with descriptions or dates if you know them. Photos display like this.
  • or you can share memories by telling us a story of your time on the Coast. Stories are mostly text, with perhaps a photo to illustrate it - and look like this.

 If you get stuck, send us a message, either use the contact form on Recollect, or post a message on our Facebook Group – one of the adminstators will be in touch to help. 

How do I donate?
All donations – even a dollar – are most gratefully received.
  • You can pay with your credit card or Pay Pal on our Give a Little page
  • Or send a cheque to:

    West Coast Recollect
    c/o NZ Micrographic Services Ltd
    32B Jamaica Drive, Grenada North 5128, 
    PO Box 51248, Tawa 5249, 
    (Please put New-Zealand Micrographic Services in the Payee field
How do I get information on a photo changed, or a photo removed?
On every page there is a 'contact us about this' icon (an envelope) which you can use to send a message. The advantage is this will give us a link directly to the page that you wish to discuss.  Alternatively, if you are logged in as a member (free of charge) you can 'add a comment' directly onto the page and tell us your version.   We can also be reached via the Facebook Group.
We are always adding information to photos and growing the catalogue and love seeing comments or information added by visitors to the site.
Can I interact with the site - like I can on Facebook?
Yes you can! Just like you have to login to Facebook to comment, you need to register and log in to Recollect to interact as well - the good news is that you can login using your Facebook login if you choose to.  To register or login, use the 'log in' menu button on the left, or the text link on the top right of your screen.  Once you're logged in you can:
  • Tag a photo
  • Add a geotag
  • Add a comment
  • Like a photo
  • add a bookmark (add to 'my collection')
  • Share links on social media


For very quick pointers on how to interact with the site, check our 'help' section.

Who administors the site?
The original Facebook Group and the Recollect site were set up by Heather Newby. Heather is supported by a passionate group of volunteer administators:  They are Maye Dunn, Claire Ward, Brian McIntyre, Christine Pointon, Rowena Dunn, Laura Mills, Margaret Mort and Glenn Johnston.