In the spotlight: Archives New Zealand

Archives New Zealand gather, store protect and provide access to over 4 million records of the New Zealand’s public archives. They hold almost 200 years of New Zealand history in all accessible forms, including documents, maps, films, photographs and more.

The teams at Archives New Zealand work hard to make sure the public can access New Zealand historical records in more effective ways. Over 400 digitized historical films are available to view and share via Archive New Zealand’s Youtube channel, and newly digitized records are added daily.

The Archives New Zealand Historical Film Footage collection can be downloaded from DigitalNZ, and are free to remix and reuse under Creative Commons BY 3.0 NZ licence. This collection currently contains 47 records and covers many key moments in New Zealand, from the Royal Tour of New Zealand to the Beehive Construction.

Here are two of our favourite records from the Archives New Zealand’s Youtube channel:


New Zealand National Film Unit presents Alexander Turnbull's Library (1972)

The film took place at the original Alexander Turnbull Library building on Bowen Street in Wellington, before the move to the National Library New Zealand. It not only recorded the Library in a daily action, but also the emotions Library staff went through during the decision making process around the relocation. It is a story within a story.


New Zealand National Film Unit presents Ralph Hotere (1974)

Ralph Hotere (11 August 1931 - 24 February 2013), one of the greatest New Zealand artist has recently passed away. Sam Pillsbury created this film and documented Hotere and his art works. As Mark Amery said, this is “the finest documentary of an artist” he’s seen.