All groups of records at the Christchurch Office of Archives New Zealand are given an Accession Number, prefaced by CH (eg CH 287) when trasferred to our care. This number allows us to track accessions of material as they move through the arrangement and description process, and assists in correctly shelving and locating records once they have been fully documented. There are currently some 970 individual accessions at the Christchurch Office. Following the accession number is the file reference. In most cases, this is carried over from the system used by the originating agency, and is an example of the archival principle of original order in action. For example, CH 56 is a collection of records from the National Radiation Laboratory. The file reference 23/16/1 was used by this agency to control documents relating to the Laboratory's Siting Subcommittee on Nuclear Reactors in New Zealand between 1969-1975.
Many of the images here come from the Canterbury Provincial Archives. This collection falls under the general accession number CH 287. Within this group of records are three very large series:
1. Inwards Correspondence of the Provincial Secretary (ICPS) -1853-1877
2. Inwards Correspondence of the Secretary for Public Works (ICPW) - 1864-1877
3. Papers of the Provincial Council (PPC) - 1853-75
Archives References for these series include a CP box designation, the relevant series abbreviation and year of the file in question. Each number represents an individual item, and there is normally a very brief description of the item's contents. The different elements of the reference come together as follows: CH 287, CP 185, ICPW 158/1865 - Tracing of Akaroa showing proposed site of Jetty.
The three Canterbury Provincial Archives series are:
1. The Inwards Correspondence of the Provincial Secretary (ICPS)
The Provincial Secretary was the most important civil servant of the Provincial Government, and was its hub - especially from 1853-63 when there was no Secretary for Public Works. His inwards correspondence is a massive series (some 182 boxes) and it covers all possible facets of the Provincial Government's activities - immigration, education, charitable aid, health, public works (until 1864), goldfields, justice and so on.
2. The Inwards Correspondence of the Secretary for Public Works (ICPW)
This is also a very large series of correspondence and starts in 1864 when the first Secretary for Public Works was appointed. ICPW is the place to look for correspondence relating to any Provincial Government building activity - including railways, the Lyttelton rail tunnel, roads, bridges, public buildings, immigration barracks and so on.
3. Papers of the Provincial Council (PPC)
These are all the surviving papers presented to or created by the Canterbury Provincial Council in each of its 42 sessions. This series allows you to see just what the Provincial Council was doing - how it was spending its money, how policy was formulated and legislation enacted (called Ordinances). Regular reports on a variety of topics can be found in this series, and sometimes these cover the lifespan of the Provincial Government.