Waitangi Tribunal gets Web site upgrade

The Waitangi Tribunal has completed a major upgrade of its Web site in time for its 25th anniversary.

The Waitangi Tribunal has completed a major upgrade of its Web site in time for its 25th anniversary. First demonstrations of the site were made part of the anniversary celebrations in Wellington last week.

The tribunal has had a presence on the Internet since 1995, but the original site, developed by Wellington online information company The Knowledge Basket was a “no frills” affair. It simply provided copies of tribunal reports online. The new site, created by McGovern and Associates of Auckland, brings better presentation of the reports, with keyword searching using Verity Navigator software – though this was not ready in time for the launch. There are now head-notes to each report summarising its findings and highlighting key quotations from claimants and tribunal members.

The site also includes up-to-date information on the progress of each current claim, instructions on making a claim, descriptions of the way the tribunal functions, downloadable versions of its management plan and business strategy and biographies of its members. Resource kits for schools, previously only produced in paper form, and a newsletter, Te Manutukutuku (The Kite) are also available online.

Three main audiences are envisaged for the site: claimants, researchers and the public, particularly young people, says tribunal chairman Justice Durie. “We have a duty to ensure the processes of the tribunal are as public and transparent as possible,” he says.

The major challenge was in presenting the large volume of information in the space of a Web site and at the same time “keeping it simple,” says McGovern's Paul Reynolds.

The site, at www.waitangi-tribunal.govt.nz, took almost 200 hours of work to develop, over a period of six months.

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