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Aidan Challis interviewed by Bronwyn Hanna in the Burra Charter oral history project [sound recording]
Bib ID 5159949
Format AudioAudio, OnlineOnline [sound recording]
Challis, A. J, Interviewee
Online Access
Access Conditions Access open for research, personal copies and public use. 
Description 2011 
2 sound files (ca. 186 min.) 

Burra Charter oral history project.

Technical Details

Mode of access: Online. 


Aidan Challis, born in England in 1948, talks about his family background; attending university at Durham, studying geography and his PhD in archaeology; after his PhD applying for teaching positions in Australia and New Zealand with his wife Jill; migrating to the South Island of New Zealand (1973); returning to the UK to do a Bachelor Arts (Theology) at Nottingham (1979-1982); training briefly as a teacher in Auckland then applying to teach at a school in the north of the South Island because of his interest in indigenous culture there; surveying the indigenous archaeology of the region and interviewing local community members about Maori artefacts; cultural heritage and the Motueka region; early archaeological connections made in New Zealand; his post doctoral fellowship for a year at Auckland University to write up his research from Motueka; working full-time with the Historic Places Trust (1977); working with the Maori community; International Council on Monuments and Sites (ICOMOS), New Zealand committee of ICOMOS being established around 1987, being a board member for a decade and chair from 1990-2; New Zealand’s World Heritage sites - Tongariro National Park, Te Wahipounamu, Mount Cook, Sub Antarctic Islands; the National Register of Historic Places; the New Zealand Archaeological Association; his time as a curator to conserve key sites in the north of the North Island.

Challis discusses his curatorial work with Waimate Mission House, advocating purchase of land around the house to enable understanding of broader archaeological context; introducing registers for moveable heritage; introducing use of conservation plans; conference attendance; Burra Charter, Australia; the development of in-house conservation expertise and responsibility, leading to better conservation outcomes; Waitangi National Trust; Waitangi Treaty House; ICOMOS New Zealand developing its own charter, recognising how important the Burra Charter had been in Australia; Aotearoa Charter, New Zealand Charter development; addressing intangible heritage; Tongariro National Park; New Zealand Lottery Grants Board; Historic Places Act 1993; taking a position in the Department of Conservation, Science and Research Division (1990-2002) as an archaeologist, moving into management, policy analyst and managing the Minister of Conservation’s national review of heritage management policy and legislation 1997-99; the establishment of the Ministry for Culture & Heritage, which resulted in the separation of the Historic Places Trust from the Department of Conservation so it could be monitored by the Ministry; moving to the Historic Places Trust in a senior executive role and acting Chief Executive (2005); has continued to work professionally but independently for various heritage organisations; his involvement with the 2010 revision of the New Zealand Charter, the 2010 revised version is currently being translated into Maori.


Recorded on 18 April 2011 in Wellington, New Zealand.

Index/Finding Aid Note Detailed summary (11 p.) 
Subjects Challis, A. J. -- Interviews.  |  Australia/ICOMOS. Charter for the Conservation of Places of Cultural Significance.  |  Archaeologists -- New Zealand -- Interviews.  |  Executives -- New Zealand -- Interviews.  |  Cultural property -- New Zealand.
Occupation Archaeologists.
Other authors/contributors Hanna, Bronwyn J, Interviewer

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Details Collect From
ORAL TRC 6265/4
Copy: Recording
Special Collections Reading Room
ORAL TRC 6265/4 (summary) Special Collections Reading Room -

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Members of Aboriginal, Torres Strait Islander and Maori communities are advised that this catalogue contains names and images of deceased people. All users of the catalogue should also be aware that certain words, terms or descriptions may be culturally sensitive and may be considered inappropriate today, but may have reflected the author's/creator's attitude or that of the period in which they were written.