Archives New Zealand

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Archives New Zealand
Te Rua Mahara o te Kāwanatanga
Archives New Zealand logo.png
Agency overview
JurisdictionNew Zealand government recordkeeping and community archives
HeadquartersMulgrave Street, Thorndon, Wellington
Coordinates: 41°16′38″S 174°46′48″E / 41.277167°S 174.78°E / -41.277167; 174.78
Minister responsible
  • Tracey Martin, Minister of Internal Affairs
Agency executive
  • Richard Foy, Chief Archivist and General Manager
Parent agencyDepartment of Internal Affairs

Archives New Zealand (in Māori: Te Rua Mahara o te Kāwanatanga) is the National Archives of New Zealand, with responsibility for the record of government. This includes regulation of information management in the public sector, management of the national archival collection, and leadership of the archives sector.[1] Since 1 February 2011 it has been part of the Department of Internal Affairs. Before 1 February 2011 Archives New Zealand was a separate government department.[2]


Archives New Zealand has a national office in Wellington's Thorndon suburb near the New Zealand Parliament. It also has smaller regional offices in other major centers including Auckland, Christchurch, and Dunedin.[3][4]


In 1954, the First National Government's cabinet approved the establishment of a national archive and the office of a chief archivist, and the drafting of enabling legislation. The Archives Act 1957 established the National Archives within the Department of Internal Affairs. It also gave the chief archivist the power to approve the disposal of official records and to require the transfer of records to the National Archives after 25 years. The Archives Act also affirmed public access to the National Archives. While the National Archives were established in 1957, they were preceded by the Dominion Archives and the former war archives at the Hope Gibbons building in Wellington.[4]

In 1977, an amendment to the Local Government Act 1974 extended limited protection to local government archives. For the first twenty years, the National Archives had to content with inadequate storage and staffing. Following Wilfred I. Smith's report, the Government took steps to address those issues. The National Archives' legal position was further entrenched by the passage of legislation such as the Ombudsmen Act 1975, the Official Information Act 1982, and the State Sector Act 1988. In 2000, the National Archives was separated from the Department of Internal Affairs and revamped as Archives New Zealand.[4]

In 2005, the Fifth Labour Government passed the Public Records Act 2005 to deal with digital archives and the creation of state-owned enterprises. The Act also greatly expanded the role of Archives New Zealand and the powers of the Chief Archivist, and established the Archives Council to advise the Minister responsible for Archives New Zealand. The organisation now has a leadership role for recordkeeping throughout central and local government.[4] [5] In 2011, Archives New Zealand and the National Library of New Zealand were merged back into the Department of Internal Affairs.[4][2]

Key roles and collections[edit]

The main offices of Archives New Zealand in Wellington

Archives New Zealand holds more than 6 million New Zealand government records dating from the early 19th to the early 21st century. Records held include the originals of the Treaty of Waitangi, government documents, maps, paintings, photographs and film. Researchers can search descriptions of the records online, via the Archway finding aid. Other notable collections include the archives of the New Zealand Company, the New Zealand Parliament's archives, commissions of inquiry documents, most higher court records, and the archives of government agencies and the New Zealand Defence Force.[4][6]

He Tohu exhibition[edit]

In May 2017, a new permanent archive exhibition He Tohu, opened at the National Library of New Zealand building on Molesworth Street, Wellington. He Tohu is an exhibition of three of New Zealand's most significant constitutional documents. The documents remain in the care of the Chief Archivist under the Public Records Act 2005. The documents are:

The exhibition was developed from mid-2014 until May 2017. It provides an award winning document room containing the latest exhibition technology and a surrounding interactive space for visitors to learn about the documents and the people who signed them. He Tohu is accompanied by an education and outreach programme including an online component to make it accessible for those not Wellington-based. He Tohu is presented by Archives New Zealand and the National Library of New Zealand, both of which are part of the Department of Internal Affairs. The exhibition is set to run for 25 years.[7]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Archives New Zealand. "About us". Retrieved 28 October 2014.
  2. ^ a b Guy, Nathan. "Minister welcomes State Sector legislation (press release)". New Zealand Government. Retrieved 30 May 2014.
  3. ^ "The Address and Contact Details of Archives New Zealand National and Regional Offices". Archives New Zealand. Retrieved 11 March 2019.
  4. ^ a b c d e f Strachan, Stuart. "Page 1: Government Archives". Te Ara: The Encyclopedia of New Zealand. Retrieved 11 March 2019.
  5. ^ "Public Records Act 2005". Archives New Zealand. Archived from the original on 28 June 2014. Retrieved 30 May 2014.
  6. ^ "What We Have". Archives New Zealand. Retrieved 11 March 2019.
  7. ^ "Exhibition and partnerships | About | He Tohu | National Library of New Zealand". National Library of New Zealand. Retrieved 25 October 2017.

External links[edit]