National Library of New Zealand

The National Library of New Zealand (Māori: Te Puna Mātauranga o Aotearoa) is New Zealand's legal deposit library charged with the obligation to "enrich the cultural and economic life of New Zealand and its interchanges with other nations" (National Library of New Zealand (Te Puna Mātauranga) Act 2003).[1] Under the Act, the library's duties include:

  • "[providing] for the preservation, protection, development, and accessibility, as appropriate, for all the people of New Zealand, of the collections of the National Library";[2]
  • "collecting, preserving, and protecting documents, particularly those relating to New Zealand, and making them accessible for all the people of New Zealand, in a manner consistent with their status as documentary heritage and taonga; and
  • "supplementing and furthering the work of other libraries in New Zealand; and
  • "working collaboratively with other institutions having similar purposes, including those forming part of the international library community."
National Library of New Zealand
Te Puna Mātauranga o Aotearoa
Headquarters in Wellington
LocationMolesworth Street, Thorndon, Wellington, New Zealand
Branch ofDepartment of Internal Affairs
Size1,515,172 in General Collections
5,333,500 in Alexander Turnbull Library
Other information
BudgetNZ$31,850,000 (2006)
DirectorRachel Esson (Te Pouhuaki National Librarian)

The library supports schools through its Services to Schools business unit, which has curriculum and advisory branches around New Zealand. The Legal Deposit Office is New Zealand's agency for ISBN and ISSN.

The library headquarters is close to the Parliament of New Zealand and the Court of Appeal on the corner of Aitken and Molesworth Streets, Wellington.



The lobby of National Library Wellington

The National Library of New Zealand was formed in 1965 when the Alexander Turnbull Library, the General Assembly Library, and the National Library Service were brought together by the National Library Act 1965. In 1980, the Archive of New Zealand Music was established at the suggestion of New Zealand composer Douglas Lilburn. In 1985, the General Assembly Library separated from the National Library leaving hundreds of thousands of research volumes with the National Library. The General Assembly Library is now part of the Parliamentary Service and known as the Parliamentary Library. Staff and collections from 14 different sites around Wellington were centralised in a new National Library building, officially opened in August 1987. The architecture of the building is said to have been heavily influenced by the design of the Boston City Hall,[3] but direct reference to the Birmingham Central Library should not be ruled out.

In 1988, the National Library became an autonomous government department where previously it had been administered by the Department of Education. The same year, the Library took on the Maori name Te Puna Mātauranga o Aotearoa, which translated means: the wellspring of knowledge, of New Zealand.[4]

In early 1998 an ambitious $8.5 million computer project was scrapped.[5]

The National Library building was to be expanded and upgraded in 2009–2011,[6] but the incoming government greatly scaled down the scope of the work, reducing the budget for it and delaying the commencement, arguing concerns about the cost of the project and the reduction in the accessibility of collections and facilities during the construction work.[7] The building closed for two years, reopening in June 2012, while refurbishment continued.[8]

On 25 March 2010 the Minister of State Services announced that Archives New Zealand and the National Library of New Zealand would be subsumed under the Department of Internal Affairs.[9]

In June 2018 a National Archival and Library Institutions Ministerial Group (NALI) was announced.[10] The purpose of NALI was to examine the structure and role of the National Library, Archives New Zealand and Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision, the position of the Chief Archivist and National Librarian, and the future of collecting, preserving and providing access to New Zealand's documentary heritage, particularly digital preservation and access. Before and since NALI was set up concern has been expressed about the National Library being part of the Department of Internal Affairs.[11] Under the aegis of Department of Internal Affairs, operations began in 2018 to dispense with 625,000 "overseas published" books, out of a total of overseas published collections amounting to 710,000 items.[12]

In September 2020, the operation of elimination of the overseas published books began to be discussed in the New Zealand media. The National Library attracted both international and local media coverage due to their efforts, now well underway, to eliminate the 625,000 books from its overseas collections. At first it defended the action by announcing that it intended to offer the books to local libraries, prison libraries, and community groups.[13][14] A partial list of the books earmarked for elimination[15] revealed that many books may be of pertinence to New Zealand/Aotearoan history and on-going narratives.[16] The elimination of over 600,000 books, a large number by any standards, is now being challenged by self-funded opponents to this governmental strategy.[17] The books in question are housed in Whanganui.[18] In July 2021 the Library announced it had made an agreement with the Internet Archive to take the books and digitise them.[19]

The He Tohu Document Room housing New Zealand's three most iconic constitutional documents

National Library of New Zealand/He Tohu

The He Tohu exhibition in the Library is home to three nationally significant documents:

The documents were moved from Archives New Zealand on 22 April 2017 under tight security.[20]


Reading room at National Library [pre-2009], Wellington

The National Library's collections are stored in the main building in Wellington and several other cities in New Zealand. The library has three main groups: the General Collections, the Schools Collection, and the collections of the Alexander Turnbull Library. Access to many collections is provided through digital products and online resources.

The General Collections focus on supporting the information needs of New Zealanders through services to individuals, schools and researchers, with notable collections such as the Dorothy Neal White Collection. The Schools Collection contains books and other material to support teaching and learning in New Zealand schools.

Alexander Turnbull Library

The collections of the Alexander Turnbull Library are in the custody of the National Library and are normally held in its Wellington building.[21] Turnbull House, the library's former location in Bowen Street in downtown Wellington, is now managed by Heritage New Zealand.[22] It is named after Alexander Turnbull (1868–1918), whose bequest to the nation included the 55,000 volume nucleus of the current collection. It is charged under the Act to:

  • 'Preserve, protect, develop, and make accessible for all the people of New Zealand the collections of that library in perpetuity and in a manner consistent with their status as documentary heritage and taonga'; and
  • 'Develop the research collections and the services of the Alexander Turnbull Library, particularly in the fields of New Zealand and Pacific studies and rare books'; and
  • 'Develop and maintain a comprehensive collection of documents relating to New Zealand and the people of New Zealand.'[23]

Turnbull collected the works of John Milton extensively, and the library now has holdings of Milton's works which are "ranked among the finest in the world" and "good collections of seventeenth-century poetical miscellanies and of Dryden material, ... along with fine sets of literary periodicals."[24]

Chief librarians of the Alexander Turnbull Library have been:

  • Johannes Andersen, 1919–1937
  • Clyde Taylor, 1937–1963
  • John Reece Cole, 1963–1965
  • Austin Graham Bagnall, 1966–1973
  • Jim Traue, 1973–1990
  • Margaret Calder, 1990–2007
  • Chris Szekely, 2007–present

The Friends of the Turnbull Library (FoTL) is an incorporated society that supports the work of the Alexander Turnbull Library by organising events, activities and offering an annual research grant to a scholars using the library’s resources. FoTL also funds the publication of the Turnbull Library Record which publishes information about the activities of the library and showcases the Library’s collections. First published in 1940,[25] digital issues of The Turnbull Library Record are available through Papers Past.

Turnbull Library Collections

The library houses a number of specialty collections :

  • Archive of New Zealand Music
  • Cartographic Collection
  • Drawings, Paintings and Prints
  • Ephemera Collection
  • Manuscripts and Archives
  • National Newspaper Collection
  • New Zealand and Pacific Book Collection
  • New Zealand Cartoon Archive
  • Music, Sounds and Audio-visual Collection
  • Serials Collection
  • New Zealand Web Archive
  • Oral History and Sound
  • Photographic Archive
  • Rare Books and Fine Printing
  • General Collection of Books relating to New Zealand and the Pacific
  • Turnbull Named Collections.

The unpublished material held by the Turnbull Library can be searched in Tiaki .

Services to Schools

Books in the Schools Collection

The National Library has been providing support to schools since 1942 and the current service operates from centres in Auckland and Christchurch.[26] Services to Schools has three priorities:

  • reading engagement
  • school libraries
  • digital literacy[27]

School libraries can keep up-to-date with research on school libraries, and gain advice on management, finance and staffing, collection management, library systems, and teaching and learning. Reading engagement encompasses advice on supporting children's reading and children's and young adults literature. Digital literacy supports the school library's role in developing digital literacy and inquiry learning.[28]

Other services include:

  • The Lending Service loans fiction and non-fiction books to schools and home educators
  • Teaching and Learning Resources makes available a range of databases and curated resources to teachers and students. AnyQuestions is an online reference service for all New Zealand school students
  • Professional and Learning Support for school librarians and educators via courses, events and online methods.[28]

National Digital Heritage Archive

Established in 2004, the National Digital Heritage Archive is a partnership between the National Library, Ex Libris and Sun Microsystems to develop a digital archive and preservation management system.[29] A digital storehouse, the system ensures that websites, digital images, CDs, DVDs and other 'digitally born' and digitised items that make up the Library's growing digital heritage collections will, despite technical obsolescence, be preserved and remain accessible to researchers, students and library users now and in the future.

Papers Past

The Papers Past website, run by the National Library of New Zealand, provides free access to digitised newspapers, magazines, journals, letters, diaries, and parliamentary papers from the 19th and 20th centuries. It was launched in 2001.[30]

Index New Zealand

Index New Zealand (INNZ) is a freely accessible online index of articles from journals, magazines and newspapers covering New Zealand and the South Pacific, with some links to the full text of articles.[31]

National librarians


  1. ^ Complete text of reference, the National Library Act 2003
  2. ^ Page One from Complete text National Library Act 2003
  3. ^ Catherall, Sarah (22 August 2009). "National Library: Bookworm heaven vs wow factor" . The Dominion Post. p. D2.
  4. ^ "Our history | About the Library | National Library of New Zealand" . Retrieved 8 December 2017.
  5. ^ Gifford, Adam (19 January 1999). "Library systems miss out on NZ technology" . The New Zealand Herald. Retrieved 27 October 2011.
  6. ^ "$69m plan to extend National Library" . Stuff. 26 May 2008.
  7. ^ "Concern over plans for National Library" . The Dominion Post. 10 February 2009. Archived from the original on 10 September 2012.
  8. ^ Hunt, Tom (6 August 2012). "National Library re-opens to researchers" . The Dominion Post. Fairfax NZ News. Retrieved 21 October 2012.
  9. ^ "State sector changes to improve performance" . The Beehive.
  10. ^ "National Archival and Library Institutions Ministerial Group –" . Retrieved 2 March 2019.
  11. ^ Gilling, Don (26 February 2019). "What's needed for the National Library, Turnbull and Archives" . Wellington.Scoop. Retrieved 2 March 2019.
  12. ^ "Internal Affairs briefing, Hon Tracey Martin, Minister of Internal Affairs. Title: Management of the National Library’s Overseas Published Collections. Date: 11 December 2018. Action sought: Approve the removal of all overseas publications from the Overseas Published Collections, excluding those in subject areas identified as collecting priorities in the Overseas Collecting Plan, and in alignment with the 2015 National Library Collections Policy. Note that due to evidence of low demand and the age of the material, secure destruction of removed items is the most likely outcome." Quoted verbatim by David Larsen on 20 January 2020.
  13. ^ Roy, Eleanor (11 September 2020). "'I literally weep': anguish as New Zealand's National Library culls 600,000 books" . The Guardian. Archived from the original on 14 September 2020. Retrieved 16 September 2020.
  14. ^ Corlett, Eva (13 September 2020). "National Library in middle of first major cull of international books" . New Zealand Herald. Archived from the original on 16 September 2020. Retrieved 16 September 2020.
  15. ^ "Overseas Published Collections — collection management project" .
  16. ^ Dr Jonathan Lee, scholar of the Near East, warns that many of the threatened books contain contributions by New Zealand scholars, and their content is connected with New Zealand history.
  17. ^ "Book Guardians Aotearoa" .
  18. ^ "National Library collection at Whanganui's Wairere House to be redistributed" . NZ Herald.
  19. ^ Chumko, Andre (12 July 2021). "National Library signs 'historic' agreement to donate 600,000 books to online archive" . Stuff. Retrieved 13 July 2021.
  20. ^ "Treaty of Waitangi moved to new Wellington home under cover of darkness" . The Dominion Post. 22 April 2017. Retrieved 19 February 2019.
  21. ^ "National Library of New Zealand (Te Puna Mātauranga o Aotearoa) Act 2003" . New Zealand Legislation. Parliamentary Counsel Office. Retrieved 11 March 2019.
  22. ^ "Historic Wellington buildings transfer" (Press release). New Zealand Department of Conservation. 29 June 2017. Retrieved 7 December 2017.
  23. ^ "Purposes of Alexander Turnbull Library" . New Zealand Legislation. Parliamentary Counsel Office. Retrieved 11 March 2019.
  24. ^ "Turnbull, Alexander Horsburgh ". An Encyclopaedia of New Zealand. Edited by A.H. McLintock, originally published in 1966.
  25. ^ Oliver, Fiona (4 September 2018). "The Turnbull Library Record: Past and Future" . Retrieved 18 February 2019.
  26. ^ "Our work" . National Library Services to Schools. Retrieved 28 February 2019.
  27. ^ Buchan, Jo (March 2018). "National Library's Services to Schools helping to create readers". Library Life. 465: 26.
  28. ^ a b "Services to Schools" . National Library Services to Schools. Retrieved 28 February 2019.
  29. ^ "National Digital Heritage Archive" . National Library of New Zealand. Archived from the original on 23 May 2012. Retrieved 21 October 2012.
  30. ^ "About Papers Past" . Papers Past. National Library of New Zealand. Retrieved 9 July 2017.
  31. ^ "Index New Zealand (INNZ)" . National Library of New Zealand. Retrieved 22 October 2019.
  32. ^ "Scott, Peter, 1941–" . Retrieved 8 May 2021.
  33. ^ "Blake, Christopher Hugh, 1949–" . Retrieved 8 May 2021.
  34. ^ "Carnaby, Penny, 1949–" . Retrieved 8 May 2021.
  35. ^ Millen, Julia (2010). Te Rau Herenga: a century of Library Life in Aotearoa 1910–2010. Wellington: LIANZA. p. 222. ISBN 9780473175795.
  36. ^ a b Chumko, Andre (16 January 2021). "Bill Macnaught, champion of libraries and the knowledge economy" . Stuff. Retrieved 16 January 2021.
  37. ^ "National Library announces new National Librarian — Te Pouhuaki" . Retrieved 11 November 2020.
  38. ^ "National Library announces new National Librarian — Te Pouhuaki" . Scoop. 11 November 2020. Retrieved 16 December 2020.

External links


Information as of: 15.08.2021 11:15:10 CEST

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