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The Royal Commission was established in 2018. The Royal Commission has powers under the Inquiries Act 2013 to require any person to produce documents or provide information to the Inquiry. Public offices are receiving notices to produce documents.

On March 28 2019 the Chief Archivist issued a General Notice (PDF 71KB) under Section 20 of the Public Records Act 2005 (PRA) to put in place a moratorium on the disposal of any records relevant to the Abuse in Care Royal Commission of Inquiry as set out in its Terms of Reference.


Disposal includes all forms of disposal authorised under s20 of the PRA. The moratorium revokes any current disposal authorisation relating to any public records related to the Royal Commissions terms of reference. This means that no public records that may be relevant to the Royal Commission may be destroyed, discharged, or transferred (either to another agency or to Archives New Zealand) until the moratorium is removed.


Archives New Zealand’s advice about whether or not certain records are covered by the Moratorium is that if there is any doubt, the records should be retained. However, it is the Royal Commission which advises which records are relevant to their terms of reference and therefore covered by the Moratorium.

Destruction of source information

If a public office is in the process of digitising or considering digitising records that might be of interest to the Royal Commission with the aim of destroying the source copies, you should first contact the Royal Commission to discuss the risks of potential or perceived loss of information.

Questions about moratorium coverage

To date all questions relating to whether records come under the moratorium have been answered by Archives New Zealand in consultation with the Royal Commission. This process has been streamlined and any currently unanswered questions will now be responded to directly by the Royal Commission. Any further queries should be directed to

Frequently asked questions