We hold film footage from a variety of sources, all of which were created by government departments.
For National Film Unit (NFU) productions we often hold master materials, negatives, prints, as well as preservation copies for many titles.
We have an ongoing preservation programme to ensure long term access to this material.
The largest part of our film holdings is that of the National Film Unit, a government department which operated between 1941 and 1989.
The NFU was one of New Zealand’s main producers of films during the mid twentieth century and was responsible for most of the footage that now documents and represents these decades of New Zealand history.
The NFU produced hundreds of films, including the newsreel series Weekly Review 1941-1950 and Pictorial Parade 1952-1971, as well as fictional films, documentaries, promotional material, and instructional films. Topics included war, technology, Māori life, sport, art, architecture, farming, and other aspects of New Zealand society.
We hold the master negatives for films produced by the NFU, as well as viewing prints, magnetic sound mixes, and other materials relating to these productions.
In 2011 the ‘Weekly Review’ and ‘Pictorial Parade’ newsreel series were inscribed on the UNESCO Memory of the World New Zealand Register.
A short behind the scenes look at how National Film Unit productions were put together in 1947.
We also hold audiovisual material created by or for many government departments and various ‘Special Collections’, which have been archived under the Public Records Act 2005 due to their significant historical value.
Non-film audiovisual collections
Our holdings include a large amount of audiovisual material in a variety of formats. This is not contained to just film but also VHS, UMatic, Betacam and other magnetic video formats as well as a range of audio formats such as reel-to-reel audiotape, mechanical and optical discs and more.
Many films have been digitised from the original film versions, however not all are available digitally. If a 16mm print is available this may be able to be copied in-house. If the film is only available on 35mm however it will require external telecine copying, which can add considerable costs and delays to film orders. Time required for copying from film will be added to the total cost for footage orders.
Please contact us for more information or to make a request.
Researching NFU film
Our YouTube page is a great place to start your search for NFU films, as a large selection from our collection can be viewed here. You can search by keyword or title, or browse through subject playlists.
If there is a specific film you would like to view but can’t find it on our YouTube page, please contact us and we can work on uploading it for you.
NFU film wiki
The NFU wiki has been retired as it was no longer fit for purpose.
We are currently working on a complete list of the NFU holdings at Archives NZ from 1941-1989. It is available on the National Film Unit Collection page . If you need to access the NFU wiki in the meantime, you can use the version archived by the National Library Web Archive.
Archway is our online search tool. Here you can search for all records held in our archives, including films. Records we hold are arranged in Archway by agency - the government department responsible for the creation of the record - rather than the subject matter of the record.
To search for films specifically, from the Archway homepage go to ‘Advanced Search’, then ‘Find out about the RECORDS created by the Government’. This will bring you to the Records search page. Under ‘Format’ select ‘Moving Image’, and then search by title, keywords and/or by ‘Agency’. The NFU agency code is AAPG.
Archway listings for films give information on the physical formats available and the full archives references.
All films on Archway are listed as ‘Restricted Access’. This restriction is for preservation reasons, rather than content, and applies only to the original film copies not the digitised versions. To view the digitised versions visit our YouTube page or contact us.
Archway is also an excellent source of background information about NFU films and the NFU itself. We hold a large amount of written records created by the NFU and these can be very useful for research into the production history of some films, administration of the NFU, copyright and contractual information, as well as the public reception of films and censorship.
For more information on how to access text records please see our guide to using Archway .
Reuse and copyright
We don’t hold rights for all the films in our care. While most of this material is Crown copyright, a significant amount has shared copyright with other parties.
All material must have rights cleared before any copying can commence.
If copyright status is unknown, it is the responsibility of the researcher to prove that the material may be copied.
NFU material produced after 1946 is Crown Copyright with a 100 year term. Material produced before 1946 has lapsed from copyright, however many NFU films used library music which was licensed for specific types of films and territories. The copyright in the music is not owned by the Crown, and it is therefore up to researchers to obtain clearance to reuse this material before it can be provided. Additionally, not all NFU films can be published on our YouTube page owing to copyrighted soundtracks.
Television New Zealand (TVNZ) also has some claims on the copyright in NFU films, acquired along with the assets of the NFU in 1990.
Permission from the Chief Archivist
In addition to copyright clearance, formal permission from the Chief Archivist must be obtained to reuse any material in our care unless it is under a Creative Commons license. This is in accordance with the Public Records Act 2005. Permission for reuse cannot be given for any material that is not sourced directly from us.
All material we publish online can be reused under the terms of our Creative Commons (BY) licence. This means the material can be reused, shared, and edited without requiring formal permission from the Chief Archivist as long as we are attributed as the source of the material.
Visit the creative commons website for more information.
Any film footage supplied by us must include an on-screen credit to: Archives New Zealand Te Rua Mahara o te Kāwanatanga
If an onscreen credit is not suitable for the type of production being created, please contact us to discuss alternative arrangements.
We provide film footage for a variety of uses. To request footage please contact us and include the following information:
How you plan to use the film
The titles of the film or films you require, or as much description of them as you can provide
Footage timecodes if necessary - taken from the YouTube version
Below are the formats and conditions under which NFU film footage can be supplied.
Suitable for domestic or private use including:
Format provided – watermarked DVD.
We can provide full films on this format. However, these are not suitable for broadcast or production work.
High definition files
Suitable for broadcast or production use including:
Online use - where embedded links are not suitable
Public displays/exhibitions where footage needs to be edited
Format provided – non-watermarked editable films (Quicktime Apple Pro Res or H.264).
See our fees and charges page for information about the costs associated with film copying.
Our charges reflect the costs of preserving and maintaining our films for the future. We do not charge licensing fees for reuse. All copying charges incurred will be passed on to the client.
We aren’t a production library we are not able to provide urgent delivery of footage. Our standard delivery time for orders is within 15 working days from date of payment, however larger orders may require additional time. Payment is required before copying is started.
Last modified on 05 June 2020