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Archives New Zealand


From their web site, Archives New Zealand "acts as the memory of government".


Each Archives office holds archived (ie, no longer in use) files and documents from their particular area.  Wellington, as well as servicing the local area, also covers central government.


I have been to both Auckland and Wellington offices this year (2006).  Both hold old-fashioned card indexes for a variety of files - Auckland, for example, has some card indexes for schools and hospitals, amongst other things.  These can be used to locate and order files of interest for a particular area, or a name of interest, depending on the individual indexes.


As well, many files are indexed on Archway, and can be located by searching online.  Try using the Simple Search to locate the name of someone - it's all I've needed to use in most situations when I've been looking for things.  Once the search results are brought to your screen you can control how it is sorted by clicking on the arrows at the top of each column, and the search can be further refined by clicking on the "refine search" button at the top of the screen.


Once a file of interest is located, whether it is in a card index or online at Archway, there will be a reference particular to that file.  This is needed to order the file to view it.


Viewing can be done in person by going to the office holding the file - they're not transferred around the country for the viewer's convenience.  Files can be ordered in advance (pre-order) so they are ready for you when you arrive, or they can be ordered after you've arrived.  A maximum of four files may be ordered at a time.


At my recent visits to Auckland Archives, the files I have ordered after arriving there have been delivered to me in the Reading Room within a short time.  Wellington is busier, and from my one-and-only visit I recommend pre-ordering the first four files you want to view so they are waiting for you, then place your next order as soon as you return a file so it can be fetched as soon as possible.


Viewing files in person is free, which is why we (on the Rootsweb New Zealand list) suggest asking on the list for assistance if you can't get there yourself.  Any copying requested in person is charged at a reasonable per-page price.


When you arrive at the Archives office, you must sign in.  If you have not been there before, or have not been since their systems were revamped last, you will need to register, record a password, and receive a Reader's Card, this will show your Reader Card Number, which you will use to place orders.  Each office has its own system, so you need to register at each office you visit - I currently hold two cards, for the two offices I've visited.


If you are unable to get to the appropriate Archives office, or get someone to go for you, you can make use of the Remote Reader Service - ie, via correspondence, whether by email or letter.  There are search fees for using this method, and any copying done for you will attract a charge as well.  Some services, such as probates, are charged at a flat fee regardless of the size of the file.


There is a lot of information on Archives New Zealand's web site, and I recommend taking a good look at it if you have an interest in using their services.



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