Introducing Wendy Hartnett. She did a few contracts with the Squad before she left for Japan and her tourism business.
I think being an archivist is in my genes: my mother transcribed recipes into exercise books which she arranged by category and indexed! My father (a Methodist minister) had the most organized large filing cabinet I’ve ever seen, which he arranged by subject. He wrote at least one sermon a week for 50 years and these were organised by subject too. My parent’s photo negatives, Kodachrome slides and albums were systematically organised too.
I’ve been working as an archivist since 1993, except for the last 4 years during which I enjoyed a midlife adventure being a tour guide in Japan. I’m home again now and have the ultimate in souvenirs to show for it – a Japanese husband.
It was probably around the year 2000 that I met Helen for the first time. I was working in the Arrangement & Description Section of Archives New Zealand and our work included organising new transfers of records into our repository. At that time the transferring government agency was responsible for listing and packaging the records to our high standards before we would accept them – quite a big ask for non-professionals to manage successfully (and often it wasn’t). In earlier times this work was carried out by archivists in-house, after the records were transferred.
The smart agencies hired the Flying Filing Squad to list and package their records for transfer and we archivists noticed the resulting high standard. Our manager began recommending the Squad’s services to agencies as it was a win-win for both the agency and Archives NZ. We would receive transfers that were correctly listed on our listing template and boxed and labelled appropriately.
For a few years before moving to Japan, I worked as a contract archivist. I loved the variety as I did one-off jobs for not only government agencies but also local government, private archives, and the Cancer Society. Not being skilled at finding work and too shy to ‘sell myself’, I was fortunate to join the Squad and carry out some projects for Helen. This work included writing amendments to records disposal schedules, appraising estray records, sentencing records (applying disposal decisions), writing archives description and providing advice.
Helen is a great manager as she lets you get on with the job but is always available for advice or clarification. She appreciates her Squad members’ expertise and is also just a nice person.
Now that I’m home again in wonderful Wellington I’m looking forward to working for Helen and the Squad again.