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Stephen Clarke has been appointed as New Zealand’s permanent Chief Archivist - Kaipupuri Matua. Stephen joins Te Rua Mahara o te Kāwanatanga Archives New Zealand from Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency where he is currently the Chief Data Officer.

Internal Affairs Deputy Chief Executive Information and Knowledge Services Peter Murray says this appointment panel was looking for a leader to cover the archiving disciplines, regulatory management, Te Ao Māori, digital and delivery.

“Stephen stood out due to his passion for information management and standards, and a strong academic background in Archives management. Making the appointment to the Chief Archivist - Kaipupuri Matua role permanent will ensure long-term impact for the institution, staff and sector.”

Stephen says the Chief Archivist - Kaipupuri Matua position is his dream role. “I am passionate about working in the heritage sector. Getting value from our memory, information and taonga to make New Zealand a fairer, safer and more equitable place is what inspires me professionally, maintaining our past to inform our future - kia whakatōmuri te haere whakamua.

The role of Chief Archivist - Kaipupuri Matua is a strategic leadership position, with independent statutory responsibilities, charged with setting the direction for Archives New Zealand. In a permanent appointment, we were looking for a Chief Archivist - Kaipupuri Matua who can take our government archives to the people, oversee the preservation and protection of more than seven million official records, lead a passionate team of experts and be part of the transformation of our nation’s documentary heritage sector.

With significant recent investment in Aotearoa New Zealand history, this is an exciting time to join Archives and a key role in leading the work to better safeguard and preserve our holdings so current and future generations can access our unique stories and heritage.

Current Chief Archivist - Kaipupuri Matua Richard Foy was seconded into the role in August 2017, extended after Election 17, again while the National Archives and Library Institutions (NALI) Ministerial Review progressed and finally to 30 October 2020 to allow for this recruitment to take place. At this time his term will end.

Internal Affairs Chief Executive Paul James says, “I would like to thank Richard for the progress he has made during his three years at Archives New Zealand.

“Among his many achievements he has successfully progressed the Archives New Zealand 2057 Strategy work, launched a new user-friendly Archives New Zealand website, initiated a project to replace the existing Archives’ online systems enabling better public access to our government records.

“Perhaps the biggest impact Richard has led is the digitisation programme where over 100,000 records have been digitised and made accessible online for people anywhere in New Zealand and the world.”

Stephen will begin his role on Monday 30 November 2020.


Media Desk Te Tari Taiwhenua Department of Internal Affairs Mobile: +64 27 535 8639 email:

Editor’s notes


Born in Scotland, Stephen Clarke is a former engineer who took up a career in archives and records management in the 1990s.

After graduating with a degree in history and social anthropology and gaining professional experience in local authority archives and university libraries, Stephen undertook the Archives Administration and Records Management post-graduate professional qualification in the UK, specialising in medieval charters.

In 2006 Stephen moved to New Zealand, leaving the National Museum of Wales to join Archives New Zealand, and beginning his career in the New Zealand public service. Stephen brings twenty years’ experience leading teams to deliver digital services in the public sector, in agencies including the Office of the Auditor General, Inland Revenue, the Department of Internal Affairs, Office of the Ombudsman, Te Puni Kōkiri and Transpower. His most recent role has been as the Chief Data Officer for Waka Kotahi New Zealand Transport Agency.

Internationally, Stephen is known as a thought-leader and standards expert having developed standards for records management, digitization of records, and the International Council on Archives: Principles and functional requirements for records in electronic office environments standard. As a former anthropologist and a technical practitioner, Stephen understands that successful societal outcomes come from bringing cultural and technical together to create human-centred services that work for people, delivered by technology.

When not at work, Stephen likes to spend time with his two daughters, reading sci-fi and philosophy, watching Scottish football and collecting 1970/80s punk records.