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). Under the Act, the library is also expected to be:

  • "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."

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.

National Library of New Zealand
Te Puna Mātauranga o Aotearoa
NLNZ ext 5
LocationMolesworth Street, Thorndon, Wellington, New Zealand
Coordinates41°16′36″S 174°46′42″E / 41.276614°S 174.778372°E
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)
DirectorBill MacNaught (National Librarian)


National Library of New Zealand lobby
The lobby of the National Library

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 and is now 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 design of the Boston City Hall.,[1] 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.[2]

In early 1998 an ambitious $8.5 million computer project was scrapped.[3]

The National Library building was to be expanded and upgraded in 2009–2011,[4] 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.[5] The building closed for two years, reopening in June 2012, while refurbishment continued.[6]

On 25 March 2010 the Minister of State Services announced that Archives New Zealand and the National Library of New Zealand would be merged into the Department of Internal Affairs.[7]

In June 2018 a National Archival and Library Institutions Ministerial Group (NALI) was announced.[8] 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.[9]

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.[10]


Wellington National Library 01
Reading room at National Library, 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.[11] Turnbull House, the library's former location in Bowen Street in downtown Wellington, is now managed by Heritage New Zealand.[12] It is named after Alexander Horsburgh 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.'[13]

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."[14]

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,[15] digital issues of The Turnbull Library Record are available through Papers Past.

Turnbull Library Collections

The library houses a number of specialty collections:

  • Archives of New Zealand Music
  • Cartographic Collection, Drawings
  • Paintings and Prints
  • Ephemera Collection
  • Manuscripts
  • National Newspaper Collection
  • New Zealand and Pacific Book Collection
  • Cartoon Archive
  • Music, Sounds and Audio-visual Collection
  • Serials Collection
  • New Zealand Web Archive
  • Oral History and Sounds
  • 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

Schools Collection May 2007 2
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.[16] Services to Schools has three priorities:

  • reading engagement
  • school libraries
  • digital literacy[17]

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.[18]

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.[18]

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.[19] 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.[20]

Index New Zealand

Index New Zealand (INNZ) is a free database of articles from journals, magazines and newspapers covering New Zealand and the South Pacific.[21]


  1. ^ Catherall, Sarah (22 August 2009). "National Library: Bookworm heaven vs wow factor". The Dominion Post. p. D2.
  2. ^ "Our history | About the Library | National Library of New Zealand". Retrieved 8 December 2017.
  3. ^ Gifford, Adam (19 January 1999). "Library systems miss out on NZ technology". The New Zealand Herald. Retrieved 27 October 2011.
  4. ^ "$69m plan to extend National Library". Stuff. 26 May 2008.
  5. ^ "Concern over plans for National Library". The Dominion Post. 10 February 2009. Archived from the original on 10 September 2012.
  6. ^ Hunt, Tom (6 August 2012). "National Library re-opens to researchers". The Dominion Post. Fairfax NZ News. Retrieved 21 October 2012.
  7. ^ Beehive Press Release
  8. ^ "National Archival and Library Institutions Ministerial Group -". Retrieved 2019-03-02.
  9. ^ Gilling, Don (26 February 2019). "What's needed for the National Library, Turnbull and Archives". Wellington.Scoop. Retrieved 2019-03-02.
  10. ^ "Treaty of Waitangi moved to new Wellington home under cover of darkness". The Dominion Post. 22 April 2017. Retrieved 19 February 2019.
  11. ^ "National Library of New Zealand (Te Puna Mātauranga o Aotearoa) Act 2003". New Zealand Legislation. Parliamentary Counsel Office. Retrieved 11 March 2019.
  12. ^ "Historic Wellington buildings transfer" (Press release). New Zealand Department of Conservation. 29 June 2017. Retrieved 7 December 2017.
  13. ^ "Purposes of Alexander Turnbull Library". New Zealand Legislation. Parliamentary Counsel Office. Retrieved 11 March 2019.
  14. ^ "Turnbull, Alexander Horsburgh". An Encyclopaedia of New Zealand. Edited by A.H. McLintock, originally published in 1966.
  15. ^ Oliver, Fiona (4 September 2018). "The Turnbull Library Record: Past and Future". Retrieved 2019-02-18.
  16. ^ "Our work". National Library Services to Schools. Retrieved 28 February 2019.
  17. ^ Buchan, Jo (March 2018). "National Library's Services to Schools helping to create readers". Library Life. 465: 26.
  18. ^ a b "Services to Schools". National Library Services to Schools. Retrieved 28 February 2019.
  19. ^ "National Digital Heritage Archive". National Library of New Zealand. Archived from the original on 23 May 2012. Retrieved 21 October 2012.
  20. ^ "About Papers Past". Papers Past. National Library of New Zealand. Retrieved 9 July 2017.
  21. ^ "Index New Zealand indexes" (PDF). National Library. October 2018. Retrieved 28 February 2019.

External links

1844 in New Zealand

The following lists events that happened during 1844 in New Zealand.

1845 in New Zealand

The following lists events that happened during 1845 in New Zealand.

1865 in New Zealand

The following lists events that happened during 1865 in New Zealand.

1866 in New Zealand

The following lists events that happened during 1866 in New Zealand.

1874 in New Zealand

The following lists events that happened during 1874 in New Zealand.

1939 New Zealand rugby league tour of Great Britain and France

The 1939 New Zealand rugby league tour of Great Britain and France was a scheduled tour by the New Zealand national rugby league team of Europe between September and December 1939. After arriving in the United Kingdom in August 1939, the tour was abandoned after one match had been played due to the outbreak of the Second World War.

Archives New Zealand

Archives New Zealand (in Māori: Te Rua Mahara o te Kāwanatanga) is the National Archives of New Zealand, with responsibility for the record of government. This includes regulation of information management in the public sector, management of the national archival collection, and leadership of the archives sector. Since 1 February 2011 it has been part of the Department of Internal Affairs. Before 1 February 2011 Archives New Zealand was a separate government department.

Department of Internal Affairs (New Zealand)

The Department of Internal Affairs (DIA; Māori: Te Tari Taiwhenua) is the public service department of New Zealand charged with issuing passports; administering applications for citizenship and lottery grants; enforcing censorship and gambling laws; registering births, deaths, marriages and civil unions; supplying support services to Ministers of the Crown; and advising the government on a range of relevant policies and issues, part of a number of functions performed by Internal Affairs.

Other services provided by the Department include a translation service, publication of the New Zealand Gazette (the official newspaper of the New Zealand Government), a flag hire service, management of VIP visits to New Zealand, running the Lake Taupo harbourmaster's office (under a special agreement with the local iwi) and the administration of offshore islands.

During the late 1990s both the National Library of New Zealand and Archives New Zealand were separated from the Department along with the Ministry for Culture and Heritage. On 25 March 2010, the former Minister of State Services Tony Ryall announced that the Library and Archives would be merged into the Department. Library and Archives stakeholders expressed serious concerns about the changes proposed. On 1 February 2011, both were brought into the Department of Internal Affairs.


Horotiu is a small township on the west bank of the Waikato River in the Waikato District of New Zealand. It is on the Waikato Plains 13 km (8.1 mi) north of Hamilton and 5 km (3.1 mi) south of Ngāruawāhia. From early in the 20th century it developed around a freezing works and other industries.

The North Island Main Trunk railway runs through the town, as did State Highway 1 until opening of part of the Waikato Expressway in 2013. An hourly bus runs between Huntly and Hamilton.

List of iwi

This is a list of the Māori iwi of New Zealand. According to the glossary definition of the National Library of New Zealand, "iwi" is a "Māori word for a set of people bound together by descent from a common ancestor or ancestors. Literally: bone. Modern meaning: tribe."

New Zealand Poet Laureate

The New Zealand Poet Laureate is a poet appointed by the National Library of New Zealand to represent New Zealand's community of poets, to promote and advocate for poetry, and to produce a number of published works during their two-year tenure as laureate.

New Zealand State Highway 21

State Highway 21 (SH 21) is a short 6.7 kilometre stretch of highway in the North Island of New Zealand. It links State Highway 1, Waikato Expressway at Tamahere and State Highway 3 at Ohaupo. Its main destination is Hamilton Airport and Mystery Creek, where the National Agricultural Fieldays are held.

SH 21 was gazetted as a brand new state highway designation in 1997.

New Zealand State Highway 39

State Highway 39 (SH 39) is a New Zealand state highway that forms a western bypass of the city of Hamilton. Gazetted in 1999, it is a generally quicker route to get between Auckland and New Plymouth as well as connecting to the Waitomo Caves, just south of the SH 39 southern terminus. The southernmost 14 km section has a concurrency with SH 31, as this highway has existed for much longer (SH 31 continues west to Kawhia).


Ngaruawahia (Māori: Ngāruawāhia: Māori pronunciation: [ŋaːɾʉaˈwaːhia]) is a town in the Waikato region of the North Island of New Zealand. It is located 20 kilometres (12 mi) north-west of Hamilton at the confluence of the Waikato and Waipa Rivers, adjacent to the Hakarimata Range. Ngaruawahia lies within the Hamilton Urban Area, the fourth largest urban area in New Zealand. The location was once considered as a potential capital of New Zealand.

Ngaruawahia railway station

Ngāruawāhia railway station was at the junction of the North Island Main Trunk line and its Glen Massey branch, serving Ngāruawāhia in the Waikato District of New Zealand, 74 mi (119 km) south of Auckland and 10 mi (16 km) north of Hamilton. It was opened with a special train from Auckland on Monday 13 August 1877. The next stations were Taupiri 6.5 km (4.0 mi) to the north and Horotiu 5.5 km (3.4 mi) to the south.

Steam bus

A steam bus is a bus powered by a steam engine. Early steam-powered vehicles designed for carrying passengers were more usually known as steam carriages, although this term was sometimes used to describe other early experimental vehicles too.

The Nelson Examiner and New Zealand Chronicle

The Nelson Examiner and New Zealand Chronicle (also known as The Nelson [Daily] Examiner, was the first newspaper published in New Zealand's South Island. It was launched in 1842 by Charles Elliott (1811–1876), a few weeks after New Zealand Company settlers arrived in Nelson, and folded in the face of competition in 1874.The paper began as a weekly, was published twice weekly from July 1854, and went daily in July 1873.Digital copies of all issues are available online via the National Library of New Zealand.

The New Zealand Herald

The New Zealand Herald is a daily newspaper published in Auckland, New Zealand, owned by New Zealand Media and Entertainment. It has the largest newspaper circulation of all newspapers in New Zealand, peaking at over 200,000 copies in 2006, although circulation of the daily Herald had declined to 115,213 copies on average by December 2017. Its main circulation area is the Auckland region. It is also delivered to much of the north of the North Island including Northland, Waikato and King Country.

The Wellington Independent

The Wellington Independent was an early newspaper published in Wellington, New Zealand. The first issue of it was on 2 April 1845 and it continued until 1874 when it was replaced by Julius Vogel's New Zealand Times.The paper was published twice weekly from July 1854 and thrice weekly from July 1862, and went daily in January 1871.Digital copies of all issues are available online via the National Library of New Zealand.

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