Heather Newby started a Facebook group to share her photos and memories of growing up on NZ’s West Coast. The idea of a group that allowed Coasters who were “scattered, and had lost touch with each other” to reconnect and share interesting photos, articles, anecdotes and general historical tid-bits’ was a popular one, and it rapidly became too popular for the Facebook Group platform to cope. Contributions came in thick and fast, and are only displayed on the timeline news feed.
Since there is no facility on Facebook to catalogue, sort, or effectively search the contributions, photographs and information was getting lost. Even just a few hours after an item is posted it is difficult to locate; worse, it looks like some contributions have completely vanished. A new solution was needed, and fast.

WCNZH and Recollect

With a kick-start fund from a generous benefactor, hours of work from a core group of volunteers, and some clever development work to extract the majority of the contributions (around 8000 images!) from the Facebook group page, the new West Coast NZ History website launched on 23 May 2015.
The new site, based on the Recollect platform, offers all the benefits of the group page (community contributions of photos and stories, image tagging, ‘liking’ an item, commenting on a contribution) but with full searchability and ongoing management of the content. This means the site offers many ways for visitors to search or browse content using subject tags, dynamic menus, map links and it’s easy to see latest uploads.

Community Ownership

The group had a second problem – this was not a company or organisation, this was a collective of interested individuals from all over the world. How do they fund a permanent professional solution? The answer was crowdfunding. The Recollect team worked with them to find a suitable fundraising option and integrated this into their Recollect site. The core community pushed the ‘little and often’ message to the Group members, and reinforced what a loss it would be for the community to lose the amazing collection of history they have built.
Visit WCNZH’s Recollect Website
“If 7768 members on this site donated $5 each, you would reach your target in no time… just the price of one coffee or one beer, so Coasters, let’s get behind the website appeal.”
M.W. – Facebook Group Member