Archives New Zealand holds approximately 21,000 reels of film and 1500 videotapes. The majority of these are from the New Zealand National Film Unit [NFU], which made Government funded films from 1941 until 1989. The remainder of the collection consists of films produced or received in the course of their affairs.
The Department of Internal Affairs formed a Publicity Office in 1923 and contracted Film Craft, a private company, to produce scenic ‘shorts’ and travelogues for local and overseas tourist promotion. In 1928 it built the Miramar Film Studios.
In 1930, the Publicity Office became part of the new Department of Industry and Commerce, Tourist and Publicity, which bought out Film Craft’s share in the Miramar Studios.
The National Film Unit [NFU] was established in August 1941 as a result of a Cabinet decision to provide film publicity of New Zealand’s war effort.
After the Second World War the NFU produced social documentaries and films for various Government departments. It also produced 460 episodes of the weekly newsreel Weekly Review – between October 1942 and August 1950.
Pictorial Parade, a monthly magazine type feature, appeared in 1952. This became the Unit’s main output until production ceased in 1971.
Archives New Zealand, took over responsibility for the restoration and preservation of the NFU’s extensive archival film collection in 1988.
That year the Government announced its intention to sell the National Film Unit which was purchased by TVNZ. Later the assets of the National Film Unit were sold to a private consortium that moved the facility back to Miramar.
Archives New Zealand also holds film created by or for many Government departments, and various ‘Special Collections’ archived under the Public Records Act 2005 due to their significant historical value. It is possible to search for listings of these films on Archway: www.archway.archives.govt.nz.
To find out more about the National Film Unit and our holdings visit our film wiki – www.audiovisual.archives.govt.nz.
Most of the NFU collection is open access. However, viewing footage may be subject to the availability of a viewing copy. Many films from the National Film Unit have been digitised and may be viewable on: www.audiovisual.archives.govt.nz; or www.nzonscreen.co.nz; or partially on www.teara.govt.nz.
Many non-NFU films may have restrictions placed on them by the agency that created them. Please check their Archway listing for access/restriction details.
Archives New Zealand manages Crown Copyright over the National Film Unit collection for 100 years from the date of creation. This means all films made after 1945 are still technically under Crown Copyright. Archives New Zealand held copies of films made before 1945 are no longer covered by Crown Copyright but are still under the jurisdiction of the Chief Archivist.
Generally it should be assumed that film is either covered by Crown Copyright or that another party holds the copyright. In some cases Archives New Zealand may hold film that it does not hold copyright over.
It is the responsibility of the user to ensure compliance with Copyright.
Regardless of the copyright status of a record, if Archives New Zealand material is to be broadcast or displayed, permission must be obtained from the Chief Archivist under section 48 of the Public Records Act 2005. To apply for permission to broadcast or display, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org including the full title of the film (from www.archway.archives.govt.nz) and details the intended production or display.
The best way to register your enquiry about films held in the Wellington office, whether private or commercial, is in writing, by email or by mail. See contact details Page 1.
Processing and delivery of footage is usually within 15 working days (Monday to Friday) from receipt of payment. This timeframe is subject to demand and resources.
The final cost to obtain footage from Archives New Zealand is determined by its format availability, length and end use. Prices quoted below are subject to change without notice.
We can provide a quote and an online payment link via email once an assessment of your enquiry has been made. Otherwise, payment can be by cheque made out to Archives New Zealand.
Please make sure that we hold the item you are interested in. Visit the links below to search for film titles of interest:
Physical availability of footage from our collection depends on its condition and whether it can be transferred into a digital format for private or public use.
Some items have already been transferred to digital formats and are readily available. If an item is listed on www.audiovisual.archives.govt.nz with a BITC (Burnt In Time Code) number, then it has already been transferred. Please contact us to confirm physical availability of footage if you are unsure.
If the item is held on 16mm film, we can produce an in-house DVD copy for private purchase and use.
If the material is held only on 35mm we will need have it telecinied. The cost of telecining material will be Priced On Application (POA). We will obtain a quote from our contractor before any work can proceed. Unfortunately, if the only copy we hold is a Preservation Master copy, we may not be able to make a copy of a desired film for preservation reasons.
1. Private use watermarked DVDs will cost, per film:
For example: a 15 minute film will cost $45.00 ($35.00 + $10.00)
2. Display footage, to be used in a public display context, can be purchased as either:
(a) A whole item watermarked DVD:
(b) Un-watermarked, whole items in an editable digital format (such as AVI, QuickTime, Apple Pro-res, or DVcam):
3. Broadcast use footage requests must follow a two step process to access material for broadcast use.
Step 1: Select sub-1 minute clips of footage
BITC VHS tapes/DVDs can be viewed in our Wellington Office, or sent to one of our regional offices in Auckland, Christchurch or Dunedin upon request.
Copies of BITC tapes can be purchased on DVD using the process as a Private Use DVD above, starting at $35.00 plus postage. If a BITC tape does not exist, then one will have to be made either in-house, or by an external contractor. See Telecining.
Step 2: Pay for selected (less than 60 second) clips
Domestic New Zealand postage is charged at the standard rate of $5.00.
International Postage is charged at the standard rate of $12.00. This price is subject to change without notice.