The NFU

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.

Non-NFU material

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hold audiovisual material created by or for many government departments and various ‘Special Collections’, which have been archived under the Public Records Act 2005 due to their significant historical value.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