The records held by Archives New Zealand relate to almost every aspect of New Zealand life, and to the individual lives of New Zealanders, from the beginning of British Government in 1840 to the present day. They cover a wide range of subjects, a lengthy time period, and a variety of different media.
Public archives are also deposited in Archives New Zealand’s regional offices in Auckland, Christchurch and Dunedin, and in repositories approved under the Public Records Act 2005.
Local authority archives may be deposited with Archives New Zealand under the Local Government Act 1974, however these are usually held in local regional archives or libraries.
Archives New Zealand’s Wellington office holds the archives of the head offices of central government, and the district offices in the lower half of the North Island (Taranaki, Wanganui, Hawkes Bay, Manawatu, Wairarapa, and Wellington) as well as the northern part of the South Island (Nelson and Marlborough).
Archives New Zealand holds a variety of genealogical and whakapapa resources in the Wellington Office, including immigration records, probates, coroners' reports, notices of intention to marry, and military service records up to 1920.
The Wellington repository holdings include at least 65,000 metres of textual public archives, 300,000 maps, plans and other cartographic archives, 750,000 photographs and negatives. Motion pictures, video and audio tapes and a variety of historical objects and artefacts are also held.
The Auckland Regional Office was established in 1983. It holds public archives created by government agencies located within the old Auckland Provincial Government boundaries, which encompasses Northland, Auckland, Waikato, Coromandel, Bay of Plenty and Poverty Bay.
The Auckland Regional Office holds around 30,000 linear metres of archives in the form of files, bound volumes, maps, plans and photographs.
The Christchurch Regional Office was established in 1985 to deliver Archives New Zealand's services in the Canterbury and West Coast region of the South Island. Since 2003 it has also provided some of these services to the Nelson/Marlborough region.
The Christchurch Regional Office houses approximately of 13,000 linear metres of textual public records as well as over 15,000 maps, plans, photographs and other non-textual items.
The Dunedin Regional Office was established in 1993 to deliver Archives New Zealand's services to the southern regions of the South Island. It holds archives from the Otago and Southland regions (south of the Waitaki River).
The Dunedin Regional Office holds around 8,000 linear metres of archives, in the form of files, bound volumes, maps, plans and photographs.