Declassified MFAT files released to the public
Today sees the release of more than 100 previously classified Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade (MFAT) files held by our Wellington archive, in a joint initiative between the two departments.
Making the files available to the public is part of MFAT’s ongoing programme of reviewing and releasing classified material. This is the first release under the updated declassification programme, with subsequent regular releases to follow from next year.
144 files have been opened for public access. They include records created by MFAT's head office in Wellington, as well as by a variety of New Zealand overseas posts in London, Canberra, New York, Hong Kong, Jakarta, Los Angeles, Lima, Ottawa, Singapore, Suva, Vienna and Tokyo. They tell the stories of New Zealand’s diplomats abroad, how they represent New Zealanders’ interests, and chart the development of our independent foreign policy voice.
The files released date from 1919 to the 1980s and cover a wide range of topics, including:
events leading up to the 1981 Springbok tour, and New Zealand Government and Commonwealth perspectives on sporting contacts with apartheid South Africa
New Zealand’s efforts to transport a Chilean trade unionist to safety, who was high on a most wanted list during the Chilean coup d’état lead by Pinochet
observations and logistics planning, related to visits by foreign Governors General and Prime Ministers from the 1950s to the 1980s
East Timor political affairs from the 1940s to 1980s
the ‘Te Māori’ Māori art exhibition, 1981–1985
the Treaty of Versailles, 1919–30s
New Zealand visits to the USA, Canada, Australia, Europe, Fiji, Peru and more, mainly from the 1970s to 1980s
South Pacific forums of the 1970s–1980s.
Interested to know more about the records?
You can view the official MFAT press release and a list of the files released on the MFAT website. The list includes the full Archives New Zealand reference for each file.
You can request the files for viewing in our Wellington Reading Room through Archway, our online search tool. Enquiries may be made using our get help form, or telephone Archives New Zealand Wellington on +64 4 499 5595.