We have records created and used by the New Zealand Government dating from around 1840 to the recent past. These records were transferred to us by government departments and agencies to archive as they were of long term value.

Some records are digitised and available online. If not, they’ll be held in one of our four archives in Auckland, Wellington, Christchurch or Dunedin — or, in some cases, in an approved repository. If you’re looking for information that relates to a specific part of the country, or for a record that you know would have been created in a certain area, for example records from a particular court or public hospital, then it’s best to begin your research with the archive closest to that area or place.

Not all records created by the government have survived, or been kept, and those still being used within government agencies have not come to us yet. The more than 7 million archives that we do hold shed light on the historical relationship between the New Zealand public and the state. This relationship makes up the official memory of government.

We may not be the place to look for certain kinds of information, such as newer records or non-government archives.

People retrieving cardboard boxes from ceiling height shelves
Staff retrieving archives from the repository