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Australia donates Archive equipment to Tonga Broadcasting Commission

Radio & TV Tonga, Nuku’alofa, 07/09/2018

Tonga Broadcasting Commission Archive Centre is now has the ability to change audio and visual formats to electronic format with the help of the new equipment donated by the Australian Government.

During the hand over program this morning at the main studio of Tonga Broadcasting Commission, the Australian High Commissioner to Tonga H.E Andrew Ford says Australia is committed to supporting Tonga in archiving its history.

He adds Tongan institutions need to collect and preserve their records that reflect its history and identity.

TBC is the holder of much important information of Tonga’s history of the last 60 year or so. Preserving this material will preserve Tonga’s unique cultural heritage, especially as the only Constitutional Monarchy among Island Countries. The current and future generation will better understand their past to know where they have come from and be better informed about decisions for the future,” he said.

Meanwhile, a veteran journalist and a very experienced staff of TBC Laumanu Petelo says today’s donation is a dream come true for Tonga Broadcasting Commission. For several years, management of TBC made attempts after attempts to seek funding assistance for the development of the kingdom’s largest audio-visual archive for the preservation and continuation of the materials as a cultural heritage and are the nation’s collective memory, documenting the past, present and future as well as the achievements over the years. TBC has been keeping the nation’s archive since the establishment of the organization and materials were audio only up until the year 2000 when TV was incorporated into radio. These materials have significant values in audio and visual formats and since the automation of our services in the early years of this century; most of our analogue were worn and torn including our reel to reel tape players and gramophones. This meant that most of the music songs and materials available for our day to day contents began to stagnate because we have the same materials and are played from time to time. This was due to no equipment to transfer these audio and visual materials especially audio formats into the electronic formats. Today therefore marks a new epoch, which means that we will be able to use resources that have been sitting in our library and archive for almost 20 years.”

I recall back in 2007 several months ahead of the coronation of the late King George Tupou V. The Royal Chaplain requested the archive e material from tt4’s coronation. The tapes were in the old reel to reel format and recording was on both sides and the speed was 3 and ¾ and there was no appropriate equipment to do the transfer. Months later I asked the Chaplain whether he has had any other source for that coronation ceremony, he told me, he was very lucky because a relative of the royal household who was living in England at the time still had a copy of the complete coronation ceremony. That is why today’s hand over of this vital equipment is necessary because it is no use to keep an archive of unusable materials,” she said.

She also emphasizes the importance to protect these archive materials.

The other important matter that I feel the board should look into for the security and protection of our archive from theft and wear and tear. The copy right act of Tonga to meet TBC’s needs should be amended to stop our material from theft and the likes, but of course we have mechanisms for those who require archive material. These can be requested for personal use but not for commercial purposes as is the case in Tonga now. We cannot control our materials from misuse and theft and this should be stopped. Currently only artists have the rights for their materials under the copy right law, but how about us their hosts for recording, airing and keeping these materials,” Petelo said.

Meanwhile, a TBC board member Salote Sisifa says Tonga Broadcasting Commission keeps a record of events in Tonga aimed to be passed from generation to generation. She also thanked the Australian Government for their generous assistance.

The presence of Australia in the development of Tongan societies is very evident and we can only aspire to learn from your good country and the practices carried out in developing Broadcast and Telecast for the people of Tonga. May this not be the end but a continuation of prosperous partnership between Australia and Tonga Broadcasting Commission in serving the people of both counties in the service of Informing, Educating and Entertaining the public at keeping all these in archives for tomorrow’s generation,” she said.

The equipment donated is worth more than TOP$8,000.

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