We hold records created by New Zealand government agencies, such as the Ministry of Justice or the Department of Internal Affairs.

Our holdings are organised by which government agency created the records, rather than what the records are about. It can be helpful to keep this in mind when starting your research. Using an archive can be quite different to using a library. In a library you might search by author or subject, but in an archive, you need to consider who made the record.

Think about which government agency might have created the record you’re looking for. How might the subject have interacted with the government in the creation of a record? For example, if someone died accidentally a coroner’s inquest report may have been created.

Consider what you are searching for and try to be specific about what information you are trying to find. If you’re not sure, try looking at secondary sources such as published books or articles about your topic. Look at their sources lists or bibliographies to find what archives other researchers on this topic have consulted. We have research guides that cover the most requested records within our holdings by topic.

A man sitting surrounded by stacks of papers
A senior archivist examines files 1980