Investment in New Zealand’s history

  • Hon Tracey Martin
Internal Affairs

Budget 2020 provides a major investment in New Zealand’s documentary heritage sector, with a commitment to leasing a new Archives Wellington facility and an increase in funding for Archives and National Library work.

“Last year I released plans for a new Archives Wellington building – a purpose-built facility physically connected to the National Library by an air-bridge,” Internal Affairs Minister Tracey Martin said.

“The funding in this year’s Budget means we can now press on with those plans and have a single campus that holds and preserves our unique documented history and taonga.”

The Budget provides $46.6 million in operating spending over four years and $146 million in capital to proceed with the Wellington development and the purchase of land and design for  a new regional storage facility for Archives New Zealand and the National Library in the lower North Island.

“This investment in a new Archives building is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to create a national documentary heritage campus and represents a major project for Wellington,” Mrs Martin says.

“With the private developer funding the base build, the new money will fund the specialised fit-out of the Archives building, and the design work for the National Library alterations and the air-bridge connection. This will enable closer collaboration across New Zealand’s three heritage organisations; Archives, the National Library and Ngā Taonga Sound and Vision, who are currently co-located with the National Library.”

Construction of the new Archives building is scheduled to commence in mid-2021 and will assist with New Zealand’s economic recovery from the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“It is estimated work on the Wellington facility alone will create upwards of 340 jobs and this number will expand as the programme develops further,” the Minister said.

Budget 2020 also includes an extra $23m operating and $1.7m capital over four years to enable Archives and the National Library to better perform their core roles of working with government agencies, digitising and preserving items and providing public access.

As well, an investment of $4.7m operating and $6.3m capital has been made to support the digitisation of high-risk audio-visual collections that are such an important record of New Zealand’s society and history in the second half of the last century.  This programme will be delivered in partnership with Ngā Taonga Sound and Vision.

“This new spending through Budget 2020 acknowledges the importance of our documentary heritage collections and will allow us to better safeguard and preserve them so current and future generations can access our unique stories, culture, traditions and heritage,” Minister Martin says.


Media contact: Richard Ninness 021 892 536

Notes for Editors

Archives NZ and the National Library are legally bound to collect, preserve, protect and make accessible the country’s documentary heritage.

The collections include written documents, audio and visual recordings, paintings and photographs. 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 current 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. Archives stopped taking transfers of documents to the building in 2017.

AMP Capital Investors NZ Limited (fund manager of the ownership entity, PSPIB/CPPIB Waiheke Inc.), is creating a purpose-built facility for Archives use on a long-term lease arrangement.

A recommendation on a preferred site for the Regional Shared Repository will be made in the next three months, and the Budget provides funding for the purchase of land and design of the facility.