Topic 1

Capturing Conflict

Mon, 13/04/2015 - 8:39am

Gerald Maurice Burn, HMS "New Zealand", 1915

The display “Capturing Conflict” will be run in parallel with the WW1 in Watercolours at Splash Watercolour exhibition held at the Wellington Cathedral of St Paul opening April 18th and running until May 3rd.

Archives New Zealand will be supporting the WW1 in Watercolours at Splash Watercolour exhibition with the Capturing Conflict Display. The display will include scanned images from a number of our war art watercolours.

The display at Archives New Zealand will open on Monday 13th April and run until mid-July 2015.

The Author Jenny Haworth will be speaking in the Display area outside the Constitution Room on Thursday 16th and Friday 17th from 1pm to 2pm on the war art artists and their works that are held at Archives New Zealand.

The display at Archives New Zealand will include the following paintings,

Ref: AAAC 898 NCWA 456

Ref: AAAC 898 NCWA 494

Ref: AAAC 898 NCWA 415

Ref: AAAC 898 NCWA 532

Ref: AAAC 898 NCWA 539

Ref: AAAC 898 NCWA Q407

Ref: AAAC 898 NCWA Q408

Ref: AAAC 898 NCWA Q202

Tweets from Gallipoli

Thu, 02/04/2015 - 3:02pm

NZ & AUS Division Unit Diary, WA10 Box 8/ 76

As part of the official New Zealand WW100 programme, Archives New Zealand is involved in a Twitter project called Life 100 Years Ago. The project brings to life quotes from diaries, letters, and newspapers which are shared in ‘real time’ exactly 100 years on from the actual events – reliving history from the perspective of New Zealanders who were experiencing it at the time.

From 9 April, Archives New Zealand will be adding its own unique voice to the project by sharing excerpts from the 1915 Gallipoli Campaign.

A divisional diary of the campaign was created from 9 April – 31 August 1915, with entries made from the official Unit diary of the NZ & AUS Division, as well as the reports of Major General Alexander Godley (Commander of the Division), Major General William Braithwaite (Mediterranean Expeditionary Force) and Lieutenant General William Birdwood (Commander of the ANZAC Corps).

Written from the perspective of these officers, the diary complements the personal accounts of soldiers and nurses at Gallipoli, and contains artillery reports, official orders, statistics of casualties, and other campaign information

The tweets allow us to experience some of what happened 100 years ago at Gallipoli. ‘At dawn… the roar of guns at the entrance to the Dardanelles was deafening’ recalled the first entry for 25 April. By the end of the day, the diary noted major casualties, including ‘Lt Col Plugge, commanding Auckland Battalion,’ who was  ‘wounded by a bullet which lodged in his wrist… Fighting had been continuous… our troops, considerably outnumbered, had difficulty holding on.’

Follow the tweets at, or check out the diary itself, which has been digitised and is available at

Lest we forget - a tribute to ANZAC Day

Thu, 15/01/2015 - 8:35am

Archives New Zealand have put together a montage of moving images from its collections of New Zealanders during World War One to honour those who served and died in the Great War.


The 90 second video on YouTube starts and ends with an excerpt of the Ode of Remembrance, the famous fourth stanza from For the Fallen, a poem by the English poet and writer Laurence Binyon.


As part of its support of next year’s World War One commemorations Archives New Zealand is also working to publish online the personnel file of every one of the 160,740 people who served in World War One, where New Zealand Defence Force records exist.


Archives New Zealand is heavily involved in social media projects that aim to bring history alive from the perspective of New Zealanders who lived through the experienced.


Check out the WW100 Facebook page and the Life 100 Years Ago Twitter feed (daily tweets from diaries, letters, newspapers shared 100 years later in 'real-time') to find out more.

Recordkeeping Review Terms of Reference

Mon, 22/12/2014 - 3:34pm

The Chief Archivist has decided to review recordkeeping practices of the Prime Minister in regard to text messages which may/may not be considered public records between the period November 2008 and November 2014 in relation to a request about a possible breach of the Public Records Act 2005 (the Act).

The Recordkeeping Review terms of reference are as follows:

1. Background

Based on statements relating to the deletion of text messages made by the Prime Minister in the House of Representatives on 27 November 2014, James Shaw MP requested an investigation regarding what he considers to be a potential breach of the Public Records Act 2005. The request was to cover the period that the Prime Minister has been in office, and whether there has been any change in his practices over time.  Mr Shaw has also asked for the Chief Archivist to provide direction and guidelines on the deletion or retention of text messages.

2. Review

The review will examine:

  • Any recordkeeping policies and procedures for managing text messages, supplied by relevant public offices during the period concerned;
  • Whether the requirements of the Act have been met;
  • The application of existing authorised disposal schedules;
  • The adequacy of advice or guidance provided to the Prime Minister; and
  • Any other matters the Chief Archivist considers appropriate to review.

The use of private mobile phones and devices and personal text messages on ministerial phones and devices are explicitly excluded from the scope of this review.

3. Mandate

Under s31(a) of the Act, the Chief Archivist may give notice in writing directing the administrative head of a public office to report on any specified aspect of its recordkeeping practice.

4. Contact for enquiries

The Chief Archivist will not comment while the review is underway, but will publish a final report when the review is complete.

Dunedin Archives exhibition documents World War One experience

Wed, 17/12/2014 - 10:03am

Readiness and Sacrifice an exhibition at Archives New Zealand’s Dunedin Regional Office highlights the personal and official memories of the Otago and Southland war experience.

The exhibition coincides with the 100 years anniversary of when volunteers left Dunedin to enlist in the Great War and is a small contribution to the many events and commemorations currently happening throughout New Zealand says exhibition curator Archivist Vivienne Cuff.

Featuring soldiers letters home and other archives the exhibition paints a vivid picture of the life and times of those who went to war, says Vivienne.

“Motivation to create the exhibition came from reflecting on the sacrifice made by members of my own family,” she says. 

“My grandfather, John Clarence Cuff, was wounded at Gallipoli. His identification tags are included in the exhibition. As well, my great uncle Robert William Cuff was killed in action at Grevillers, France, in April 1918. I have their photographs, plus Robert’s war diary documenting his voyage overseas in 1917 on the troopship Waitemata.

“Putting the exhibition together has been both exhausting and emotional, but I am pleased the result gives a poignant insight into the lives of the many people who went to war,” she says.

Vivienne Cuff

Vivienne Cuff, Archivist, is holding the letter from the Minister of Defence to Oswald Stead's father informing him that his son had died after serving at Gallipoli.

Included in the exhibition are:

  • Alexander Mee’s war diary describing life on the troopship and training in England in 1917
  • the letters home from soldiers on the frontline
  • official communications, such as a telegram or letter, families received informing them that their relative had died, or were missing or killed in action
  • the contributions of Kempthorne Prosser (a local drug manufacturing company), Dunedin Medical School and Dunedin Hospital in fitting out the hospital ship Maheno
  • the work of the Otago Military Service Board and the implementation of the Military Service Act 1916
  • a National Film Unit film clip depicting the battlefields, equipment, and soldiers’ experiences.

The exhibition runs until 24 December 2014 and the Dunedin office is open Monday to Friday from 9.30am to 5.00pm.

Additional information can be found by delving into Archway, Archives New Zealand’s online search system, the New Zealand at war site WW100 and the Auckland Museum cenotaph site.

The story of Alexander Mee

Included in Alexander Mee’s file are poignant letters sent by him to his wife Jessie. Jessie and Alexander had married in February 1917 and were expecting a child. Alexander writes of his war experiences in the trenches and his yearning to return home to see Jessie. He was killed on 12 October 1917, at the battle of Passchendele. A later Court of Enquiry found him: ‘Missing Believed Killed’. 

The Alexander Mee Service file:

The Alexander Mee Online Exhibition:

A page from Alexander Mee’s war diary

Caption: A page from Alexander Mee’s war diary, [Archives References: DAAC 9075 D239/363 – 4956].

Diary Contents

Thursday, 7 June 1917

At Sea. Weather good Cold Wind. Lost our job on Coal through going to Sports. Washing clothes

Morning. Vaccination inspected. Afternoon & Physical Drill

Going on guard 6-Pm Third Relief

Slept on Deck

Friday, 8 June 1917

At Sea. Weather Good on Guard all day 8 to 10 & 2 to 4 hours A Coy Sports.

Between 3 & ½ past we sighted the escort 10 Torpedo Destroyers moving at full speed.

It a fine sight, the troopships all fell into single file.

The destroyers are all round us took 2 snaps of them

Slept on Deck


See the original Suffrage Petition at Archives New Zealand

Mon, 15/09/2014 - 11:54am

Friday September 19 is Suffrage Day marking 121 years of women’s suffrage in this country.

In 1893, New Zealand became the first nation in the world to grant women the right to vote and people are invited to visit Archives New Zealand’s Wellington office to see the original Suffrage Petition.

The petition is on display in the Constitution Room, along with the 1840 Tiriti o Waitangi and other significant national documents. Opening hours are 9.00am to 5.00pm Monday to Friday.

For more information check out the Archives New Zealand website and keep up to date by following the twitter account:

The June issue of Archives New Zealand's newsletter Ngā Tapuwae is out now

Mon, 14/07/2014 - 4:15pm

Ngā Tapuwae - the Footprints - is the newsletter of Archives New Zealand. It tells the stories of our people, our work and achievements. The June issue of Ngā Tapuwae is out now.

If you would like to receive regular updates when new issues of  Ngā Tapuwae are available please use our subscribe form.

Sound recordkeeping standards reported under the Public Records Act 2005

Wed, 07/05/2014 - 11:52am

Public offices made substantive recordkeeping progress during 2011/12, with the public offices audited meeting the requirements of the Public Records Act 2005, says Chief Archivist Marilyn Little.  

The audits were summarised in the Chief Archivist’s report State of Government Recordkeeping and Public Records Act 2005 audits 2011/12 which has now been tabled in Parliament

Commenting on the report Marilyn Little said, “it’s pleasing to note that in only the second year of a five year audit programme public offices were increasingly aware of their requirements and responsibilities under the Act and were taking positive steps to build their recordkeeping capability.

“Awareness of the requirements under the Act was high among the audited organisations."

“Good recordkeeping practices assist organisations to better manage business risks and ensure records are maintained to uphold government accountability and transparency.” 

A total of 43 randomly selected public offices were independently audited in 2011/12. Public offices are audited on a five-year cycle, with 200 being audited by the completion of the cycle in July 2015.   

The report includes the Chief Archivist’s recommendations for managing records in times of change and disaster, the value of digitisation in records management, and disposing of routine records coupled with the transfer of important ones to the archives.  The report also acknowledges the impact of cloud computing.

The report combines both the annual state of recordkeeping and audit reports required by the Public Records Act in a single document.  

Marilyn Little said Archives New Zealand had an active education and advisory programme in place to assist organisations develop and maintain robust recordkeeping standards.  

More information including useful tools and training is on the Archives New Zealand website. Work is underway now to ensure a timelier finalisation of the reports for 2012/13 and subsequent years. 







The April issue of Archives New Zealand's newsletter Ngā Tapuwae is out now

Wed, 16/04/2014 - 4:52pm

Ngā Tapuwae - the Footprints - is the newsletter of Archives New Zealand. It tells the stories of our people, our work and achievements. The April issue of Ngā Tapuwae is out now.

If you would like to receive regular updates when new issues of  Ngā Tapuwae are available please use our subscribe form.

Appointment: Chief Archivist and General Manager of Archives New Zealand

Mon, 10/02/2014 - 2:56pm

The new Chief Archivist and General Manager of Archives New Zealand is to be Marilyn Little. The appointment follows the resignation of the previous Chief Archivist, Greg Goulding.

Marilyn Little is currently the Internal Affairs General Manager Policy. She previously worked for the Office of the Auditor-General and the Department of Labour in senior roles. The appointment, for one year,  was announced today by Internal Affairs Deputy Chief Executive (Information and Knowledge Services) Sue Powell.

"I recommended the appointment to the Chief Executive based on an assessment of Archives New Zealand's immediate needs and the availability of strong managers within the wider department. This is one of the strengths of the placement of Archives New Zealand within a larger organisation: transitions in management can be much smoother because of the wide pool of talent.

"Marilyn has been a leader in the development of Strategic Information Management policy across the department, and is also a strong people manager. She has built a team of more than ninety people into one of the most effective policy teams in government. In Archives we are moving on to the implementation of the review of government record-keeping standards which will mean a new way of working for central government agencies, local government, and tertiary institutions. Marilyn's background and skills, combined with Archives existing in-depth technical expertise expertise, will be a powerful combination".

Marilyn Little takes up her appointment on 17 February. Her priorities will be to meet staff and stakeholders, implement the outcomes of the record-keeping review and ensure initiatives for better management of, and access to, archives are progressed effectively.


Media Contact:  Sandra Bennett

Communications Account Manager, Information and Knowledge Services

The Department of Internal Affairs Te Tari Taiwhenua

Phone 64 4 495 6024 mobile 64 027 839 1606