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Improved facilities and features

Expected to open to the public in 2026, the new national archives facility will be situated at 2-12 Aitken Street, Wellington.

The building’s facilities will include:

  • Collections access – a large format room located in the new building will support groups and researchers to access a wide range of items such as maps and art works, and groups like mana whenua iwi to review documents.

  • Seminar and meeting facilities – a 60-seat theatre-style seminar room plus meeting rooms available for staff and the public.

  • Audio visual (AV) and film suites – staff rooms for critical listening, viewing, conservation and digitisation of at-risk audio visual formats.

  • Digitisation spaces – an entire floor dedicated to digital copying and digital preservation to meet the increasing demand for online access to collections.

  • Conservation laboratories – equipped to allow a greater range of conservation treatments necessary to preserve collections and ensure they are accessible into the future.

  • Repository spaces – 80,000 linear metres of repository space with climate controls to meet preservation requirements for the range of collections.

  • Office workspaces – abundant natural light, staff kitchen, breakout spaces and meeting rooms that have up‑to-date ICT.

  • Staff end-of-trip facilities and bike parks – secure bike parking, a drying room and showers.

  • Secure loading, receiving and quarantine areas – a separate collection entrance that ensures collection care and supports appropriate tikanga for movements of taonga.

Keeping our people and taonga safe

Seismic performance

The building structure employs base isolation for seismic resilience, disengaging the building from the ground shaking to protect the building and its contents. This means the building would be able to remain safe and operational after a major earthquake. It will also include back-up generators that can support the building for several days should the power be lost.

Mechanical and electrical systems are designed with a high-level of back-up to keep collections safe when faults occur, or maintenance is required.

Link bridge

The new two-level link bridge will enable a connection between the new Archives building and the National Library spanning Guthrie Lane, providing two levels of access between the buildings.

Level 1 will provide physical access for the public and staff. Level 2 will allow for secure conditioned access for collections moving between buildings.

The link bridge allows for easy transfers between buildings and better collaboration across a vibrant new heritage campus.

External façade

The façade will be one of the highest performing building exteriors in the country. This specialised exterior will minimise the energy required to maintain repository conditions. Its thermal properties ensure changes in repository conditions would remain stable over 24 hrs without mechanical assistance.

The glazing is designed to optimise energy efficiency and to transmit low ultraviolet light while letting in balanced natural light to provide ideal conditions for our conservation activities and teams.

Shelving design

The shelving has been carefully designed alongside structural engineers to match the extremely high seismic performance of the building and ensure safety of staff and taonga.

The build

Construction and integrated fit-out for the 19,300 sqm new Archives New Zealand building will cost $290 million, use 6500 tonnes of steel, 1.5 million hours of on-site labour and create up to 500 construction jobs over the next three to four years.

The facility will be one of the most seismically resilient and environmentally friendly buildings in the market, with 150% New Building Standard (NBS) seismic rating expected on completion together with a minimum 4 Green Star rating.

Construction is scheduled to take approximately three to four years, with the new Archives building expected to open to the public in early 2026.

Who we are working with

The land, 2-12 Aitken St is owned by Canadian Mutual Fund, PSPIB/CPPIB Waiheke Inc. with DIA residing as the long-term tenant. Archives New Zealand will take an initial 25-year lease on the building with multiple options to extend.

New heritage campus planned

A Budget 2023 submission will be required to deliver the alteration works within the National Library and to support Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision’s long-term property requirements. The design team has been appointed and design work on the National Library alterations has commenced.

If Budget 2023 is successful, the heritage campus is expected to open to the public in 2026.