Our reading room hours are changing
We have reading rooms in Auckland, Wellington, Christchurch and Dunedin. These rooms are quiet spaces with dedicated staff to assist you in finding and ordering archives. Due to an increase in demand for online records, and a decrease in demand for physical records, we announced late 2019 that reading room hours would be changing.
Following the close of the reading room hours pilot in March 2021, Archives leadership have considered the evaluation report for the pilot and decided to implement new hours across Archives’ four reading rooms. While the review shows online demand for accessing archives rapidly growing, the decision was made to make the new hours more user friendly, so visitors can easily access the services and information they need. These new hours also provide a balance between public access to reading rooms and allowing the mahi we need to do for the move to the new building to continue.
From Monday 2 August 2021, our hours across the country will be changing. The new hours will be:
Auckland: Monday-Friday 9am – 1pm
Wellington: Monday-Friday 9am – 5pm, with reading room hours between 10am – 3pm
Christchurch: Monday-Friday 9am – 1pm
Dunedin: Monday-Friday 9 am – 1 pm
Changing our opening hours allowed us to assess the options for refocusing our resources into areas that increased discoverability of and access to New Zealand’s public archives. It also helped us ensure we are in a good place for the eventual move to our new facility in Wellington.
Thank you to those who provided feedback and suggestions on our announced changes to reading room hours. Read more about the pilot here.
Find out more below.
Why have you changed reading room hours?
Over the last 10 years we have seen a steady decrease in the number of people visiting our reading rooms. This correlates with an increase in the number of customers we are serving online.
Our vision to be a vibrant, trusted, national archive is grounded in our ability to provide a modern service that meets our customer’s needs.
Reducing reading room hours has allowed us to put our energy into listing and digitising records and making them available online. This increases discoverability of and provides better access to New Zealand’s public archives for a greater number of users.
Throughout the duration of the pilot, we received valuable feedback and have worked to balance the needs of our users with our aspirations as an organisation, to ensure that our services, despite change, continue to be as accessible as possible.
To learn more about our direction for the future of Archives take a look at our 2057 strategy.
Why have you changed opening hours?
We looked at many options based on our evaluation of the pilot and the feedback we have received to date.
While the review shows online demand for accessing archives rapidly growing, the decision was made to make the new hours more user friendly, so visitors can easily access the services and information they need. These new hours also provide a balance between public access to reading rooms and allowing the mahi we need to do for the move to the new building to continue.
Having standardised hours also makes it less confusing for researchers planning to visit multiple offices.
Does this impact your obligations under the Treaty of Waitangi?
We took the Treaty of Waitangi into consideration before making the decision to change our reading room hours, and we’ve taken any feedback in relation to the Treaty and our obligations to Treaty partners seriously. We know that improving digital access will benefit our Treaty partners, and Māori stakeholders, because we know that travelling and accommodation are expensive particularly for those who don’t live in the main centres. It’s one of our strategic aims to take the nation’s archives to the people, rather than making them come into the reading rooms.
We’re also developing mutually agreed work plans to better respond to Māori, like our letters of commitment, which include internships and metadata improvement projects that continue to build our post-settlement relationships with our Treaty partners.
We intend to collaborate with Māori to better understand a Te Ao Māori view in regard to access of culturally sensitive records that does not fit in with a Western paradigm.
We also have our online avenues of access for all researchers including our Treaty partners. These continue to grow daily.
Will I be able to request more than 5 items to view in the reading room at the same time?
The order limit will remain at 5 items per reader, but all records requested will still be delivered to the reading room within 30 minutes. This halves the wait time in our Wellington reading room from pre-pilot turnaround time.
In Wellington, maps and oversized items are retrieved three times a day at 9.30 am, 11.30 am, 1.30 pm. This is because these types of items require specialist retrieval.
The limit on the number of probates that can be viewed at one time will stay the same. This is to reduce the opportunity for these to become mixed up. Probates contain similar information and often it is difficult to tell the difference between one person’s probate and the next.
- Is there a charge to use the reading rooms?
Do I need to make an appointment to view archives?
No, you can visit us anytime during our opening hours. But if you plan to view many records or if you know that you will need a lot help from our staff please let us know before your visit so we can make sure we can give you the best help possible.
Can I take the archives away with me?
No. Removing archives from the reading rooms is a criminal offence.
Any records you order and view in the reading room must not leave the reading rooms. Records are returned to the issues desk after you have finished with them.
- Can I still request copies of archives over email?
Last updated on 29 June 2021