Dianne Adams has been a part of the Mt Eden community for over two decades. Archivista at 452 Mount Eden Rd is a true treasure trove of frames, and when I arrive for our interview, she and her 2-IC are busy. Their gentle approach with customers is a joy to watch. They are thoughtful and patient and truly embrace the spirit of the individual approach that Mt Eden Village is known and loved for.

How did the business come about?

We started off buying an existing business in Howick. It was in a small mall that was coming to the end of its life, so we started looking around for a better location. I loved the whole vibe of the village; it had a real quaintness to it. We took over the old hair salon that was here in the early nineties, gave it a bit of a refit and opened Archivista.

Were you always into photography and restoration? 

My husband at the time worked at the Howick business full time and I used to go in a couple of days and help out. I ended up running it!  At the time I was running a small hand dyed silk business from home, because I had young children. I was also working as a practice nurse – juggling both roles. I guess you could say that nursing is still my first love, but once you’ve been out for a while it’s not easy to go back unless you’re committed to building up that career again, and at this point I’ve moved onto other things.

Does Archivista specialise in framing and restoration?

We do custom framing and photo restoration, which means the copying and preservation of photographs. Custom framing can cover anything, from tiny little lockets to wedding dresses, art prints, medals, degrees and of course photos – anything you want to frame. The biggest thing we’ve framed is an Olympic rowing blazer. Framing a rifle was quite something. We sell a lot of photo frames, and we carry the largest range in Auckland. People often visit us with just a print, and we can transform it with a matt and frame to be something very special. People come to us from far and wide for our services and advice. We frequently courier throughout New Zealand as required.

Do you have interests outside of business?

I have children and grandchildren and my time is divided between them, work, my fondness for travel, and a passion for food and cooking. We live in Epsom, in a lovely old house. With a pile of photographs in a box that need attention – just like many of our customers have.

Has there been any turning point in the history of your business?

The rise of digital technology and the brilliant results you can now get from copying. This was in its infancy when we came here 25 years ago. Digital technology was very transformative and now we can do pretty much anything in terms of bringing photographs back to life. Not by bringing the tatty old torn original itself back to life, but by copying that with good scanners, good equipment, good restoration artists and good quality inks and prints and papers, you can produce a new photograph that is wonderful. I don’t know about you, but my grandparents had albums full of little photographs and they’re still fine today, largely because they had been kept safely in quality photograph albums. If people put good quality prints into good albums nowadays, they could expect the same thing but most people keep their images on their phones. My advice with your treasured and important photos is to get a good quality prints and present them in an archival album. Not one of those sticky page albums that were prevalent in the 70’s and 80’s. The other fear I have, and it might be ill founded, is that nobody knows how long those digital images are going to be available. What’s going to happen to the cloud? Is it going to be there forever?  Whereas if you’ve got good quality prints in an album, aside from a fire or flood or you lose it, you remain in control of what’s going on, and it provides a wonderful backup. A very sensible approach in my view rather than just committing to digital-only. And easier to get to and view in many ways, great for conversations with family over a cuppa.

Before I leave, I ask Dianne what the difference is between a standard print and a cotton print. She ushers me over to the impressive sample drawer and shows me the samples. I can instantly feel and see the difference of the fine cotton prints that she offers to customers. There really is no comparison. I highly recommend hopping into this landmark Village store and having a chat with Dianne and Linda about framing and restoring your most precious memories. They are super helpful and creative and really care about what they do.

Ph: (09) 630 1213