Wellington Scoop

Plans for new Archives building next to National Library

Concept image for new Archives building

News from NZ Government
Plans for a new Archives facility in Wellington, to improve the protection of and access to some of New Zealand’s most significant and valuable documents, were announced by Internal Affairs Minister Tracey Martin today.

“The plan we’re looking at would solve the issues with the existing Archives building by creating a new Archives facility that connects to the National Library,” Minister Martin says.

“We have a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to create a national documentary heritage campus. Together, Archives and the National Library are the stewards of our nation’s irreplaceable taonga, such as the Treaty of Waitangi and the Women’s Suffrage Petition. These collections are valued in excess of $1.7 billion and growing.”

The Minister said that Archives NZ, through the Department of Internal Affairs had been seeking funding to deal with problems with the current Wellington building for a number of years. Archives stopped taking transfers of documents to the building in 2017.

“The Wellington Archives building is over 50 years old and is at the end of its functional life. The building is full to capacity, has had leaks and requires significant upgrades, including seismic strengthening, which are uneconomic.”

Funding in this year’s Budget of $25.48million over two years will allow progress on the design and resource consent planning for the new Archives Wellington building. It also allows planning to progress a new regional storage repository which will replace aging regional facilities and provide much needed additional storage capacity for Archives and the National Library.

“Having our documentary heritage stored safely in modern facilities, and our National Library and Archives New Zealand physically connected by an airbridge, will give our unique documented history the place it deserves,” Mrs Martin says.

“This connection provides an opportunity for these two institutions to work even more collaboratively, in a campus-like situation helping us to pass on our culture, stories, traditions and heritage to future generations.

“The decision and funding also allows us to consider the possible inclusion of Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision, which manages nearly one million audiovisual collection items. This will support a truly connected and collaborative recorded heritage system.”

As well as the building funding, this year’s Budget also provided Archives with an extra $9.623million over 4 years to support the redevelopment of its archival management system, which is the core document tracking system for users to access archives.

“Our documentary heritage and taonga provides real value and insight to New Zealanders, increasing our sense of national and cultural identity,” says the Minister. “We need to preserve this history for our future generations and this new funding and project is a major step to ensuring this happens.”

Press Release – Nga Taonga Sound and Vision
The announcement by Internal Affairs Minister Tracey Martin that a new Archives New Zealand building in Wellington could also accommodate Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision is a welcome acknowledgement of the importance of our audiovisual taonga, says Ngā Taonga Acting Chief Executive Honiana Love.

Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision will move into office space within the National Library in late September. This move was agreed and planned in 2018.

“It is understood that design and construction of the new Archives New Zealand building will take several years and no details of possible sharing have yet been confirmed, but Ngā Taonga looks forward to discussing the possibility in the coming months,” said Honiana Love.

The announcement is also separate from the Government’s National Archival & Library Institutions (NALI) review that began in June 2018 with the intention of strengthening the contribution that Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision, Archives New Zealand and the National Library make to the culture and heritage sector. The final conclusions of the review are awaited.


  1. Grant Robertson, 14. August 2019, 18:27

    Really excited to get this project started. Archives NZ needs a new home and we can bring together a new documentary heritage precinct.

  2. Mathew Biars, 14. August 2019, 18:48

    We need a Public Library.

  3. David Watson, 14. August 2019, 22:32

    Another example of a minister endorsing the waste of tax payer money. Archives don’t need prime real estate.

  4. Archives New Zealand, 15. August 2019, 16:12

    We want New Zealanders to come and discover who they are and to understand the importance of Archives to us as a nation. A vibrant, trusted, and accessible heritage hub putting the people of Aotearoa front and centre is one step closer. [via twitter]

  5. Greg Comfort, 16. August 2019, 11:05

    Very exciting. Does feel like a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, like when Te Papa was built. Excellent news and I’m very happy for my taxes to used for this. [via twitter]

  6. Mathew Biars, 16. August 2019, 11:31

    Well I’m not excited to hear about this project and I’m not happy my taxes are being wasted.

  7. Madeleine Simpson, 16. August 2019, 11:37

    Archives NZ: Who we are is not to be found in the old archived documents. The archives don’t put people front and center, they put the past (documents) front and center. This is an example of the overvaluing and over-importance of past documents.

  8. greenwelly, 16. August 2019, 11:37

    So the Government is happy for NZ’s Taonga to be sitting in a building to be owned by offshore investors. The new building will be privately built and leased to the Government, an arrangement Martin said would be significantly cheaper than repairing the current facility.

  9. Lindsay, 18. August 2019, 13:16

    With respect Madeleine, archived documents from the past are a priceless part of our heritage. As generations die out, the archival collections are our sole connection with our history. There’s no way that their importance should be put down.
    And with respect Mathew: a new building to house our national archives is in no way a waste of taxpayers’ money.

  10. Quid Agis, 23. August 2019, 21:20

    Archives and archive buildings have been destroyed in uprisings and wars all over the world. If you plan new archives in NZ, always pay attention to solid protection and limited access to the documents and items archived in case of unrest. It would be very sad that items of national interest and history would potentially be lost due to negligence. Surely this is not an issue of today’s situation but never underestimate potential nasty future developments.

  11. Harry Welsford, 24. August 2019, 7:45

    I ask you Quid what would happen to you if the documents of the past were lost? Nothing.
    Personally I wouldn’t even be sad if the archived English version of the Treaty document got destroyed. Big deal it’s just paper.

  12. Madeleine Simpson, 24. August 2019, 8:24

    Lindsay: Say if you had never learnt History at school why would you be worse off or inferior in any way? How would it change you? The answer is no.
    The past documents are not our connection to our history, where we are right now in our evolution is far more important marker of value and relevance.
    We have not learnt anything good from the Crown’s historic narrative. We are doing the same horrific acts to one another, we have the same ideas and thinking. As a people we are stuck in the past with fear of the future. We are in the obsessional megadata age in which info itself has become overvalued (and I dear say misused).

  13. Peter Kerr, 24. August 2019, 10:04

    Those who remember the past are doomed to repeat it. (to re-coin an old saying).