Change in reading room services
We have reading rooms in Auckland, Wellington, Christchurch and Dunedin. These rooms are a quiet space with dedicated staff to assist you in finding and ordering archives.
Due to an increase in demand for online records, and a decrease in demand for physical records we announced late last year that reading room hours would be changing.
Thank you to those who provided feedback and suggestions on our announced changes to reading room hours. We have taken on board some of those and as a result the pilot hours for our Auckland and Wellington reading rooms will change, while announced hours for Christchurch and Dunedin will remain the same.
Changes will still take place from Monday 2 March 2020. The new hours will be:
Auckland: Monday and Tuesday – closed; Wednesday to Friday – open 9.00am – 5.00pm
Wellington: Monday and Tuesday – closed; Wednesday to Friday – open 9.00am – 5.00pm
Christchurch: Monday to Friday – 9.00am – 1.00pm
Dunedin: Monday to Friday – 9.00am – 1.00pm
These hours will enable customers to enjoy three full days of research in our Auckland and Wellington reading rooms.
This change does not impact on our remote research services.
This will help us grow our digital collection so that more people across NZ and the world can view our nation’s taonga.
Find out more below.
Why are you changing reading room hours?
Over the last 10 years we have seen a steady decrease in the number of people visiting our reading rooms. This correlates with an increase in the number of customers we are serving online.
Auckland Christchurch Dunedin Wellington Total 2008/09 2849 2987 1399 9784 17019 2009/10 3165 3090 1621 8418 16294 2010/11 2779 1640 1731 8473 14623 2011/12 2865 1787 1372 7368 13392 2012/13 2576 2462 1225 5603 11866 2013/14 3068 1712 1329 5318 11427 2014/15 2992 1530 1156 6697 12375 2015/16 3038 1493 1280 7026 12837 2016/17 2130 1587 1190 5708 10615 2017/18 2124 1412 1004 5740 10280 2018/19 1943 1092 963 5760 9758 Percentage decrease 31.80% 63.44% 31.17% 41.13% 42.66%
Items issued in reading rooms
Auckland Christchurch Dunedin Wellington Total 2008/09 12866 9531 5211 30356 57964 2009/10 14275 9890 5603 31832 61600 2010/11 13847 4928 5468 27572 51815 2011/12 11977 3388 4466 28038 47869 2012/13 14376 4239 3662 24419 46696 2013/14 13299 3623 3939 24033 44894 2014/15 11324 2883 3221 27729 45157 2015/16 11888 5653 2937 26870 47348 2016/17 9450 6663 4142 23420 43675 2017/18 8096 4463 3719 25184 41462 2018/19 7011 3359 4069 23298 37737 Percentage decrease 45.51% 64.76% 21.92% 23.25% 34.90%
Our vision to be a vibrant, trusted, national archive is rooted in our ability to provide a modern service that meets our customer’s needs.
Reducing the hours allows us to put our energy into listing and digitising records and making them available online. This increases discoverability of and provides better access to our records for a greater number of users.
This has been a difficult decision to make but will have long-term benefits for all New Zealanders. We received valuable feedback and as a result have made slight amendments to ensure that our services, despite change, continue to be as accessible as possible.
To learn more about our direction for the future of Archives take a look at our 2057 strategy .
Why have you chosen to amend the proposed changes slightly?
We looked at many options based on the feedback we received. It was agreed that the amendments would be the best possible option for all those who use our reading rooms.
Does this impact your obligations under the Treaty of Waitangi?
We took the Treaty of Waitangi into consideration before making the decision to change our reading room hours, and we’ve taken any feedback in relation to the Treaty and our obligations to Treaty partners seriously. We think that improving digital access will benefit our Treaty partners, and Māori stakeholders, because we know that travelling and accommodation are expensive particularly for those who don’t live in the main centres. It’s one of our strategic aims to take the nation’s archives to the people, rather than making them come into the reading rooms.
We’re also developing mutually agreed work plans to better respond to Māori, like our letters of commitment, which include internships and metadata improvement projects that continue to build our post-settlement relationships with our Treaty partners.
We intend to collaborate with Māori to better understand a Te Ao Māori view in regard to access of culturally sensitive records that does not fit in with a Western paradigm.
We’re still open every day in Christchurch and Dunedin, and for three full days in Auckland and Wellington. We also still have our online avenues of access for all researchers including our Treaty partners.
Will I be able to request more than 5 items to view in the reading room at the same time?
The order limit will remain at 5 items per reader, but all records requested will be delivered to the reading room within 30 minutes. This halves the wait time in our Wellington reading room.
In Wellington, maps and oversized items are retrieved four times a day at 9am, 11am, 1pm and 3pm. This is because these types of items require specialist retrieval that cannot be done with more regular items.
The limit on the number of probates that can be viewed at one time will stay the same. This is to reduce the opportunity for these to become mixed up. Probates contain the same types of information and often it is difficult to tell the difference between one person’s probate and the next.
- Is there a charge to use the reading rooms?
Do I need to make an appointment to view archives?
No, you can visit us anytime during our opening hours. But if you plan to view many records or if you know that you will need a lot help from our staff please let us know before your visit so we can make sure we can give you the best help possible.
Can I take the archives away with me?
No. Removing archives from the reading rooms is a criminal offence.
Any records you order and view in the reading room must not leave the reading rooms. Records are returned to the issues desk after you have finished with them.
- Can I still request copies of archives over email?
Last updated on 10 February 2020