Our reading room hours are changing
From Monday 2 August 2021, our hours across the country will be changing. The new hours are:
Auckland: Monday-Friday 9am – 1pm
Wellington: Monday-Friday 10am – 3pm
Christchurch: Monday-Friday 9am – 1pm
Dunedin: Monday-Friday 9 am – 1 pm
Why we changed our reading room hours
Over the last 10 years we've seen a steady decrease in the number of people who visit our reading rooms, and an increase in those who access archives online.
To be a vibrant, trusted, national archive we need to provide a modern service that meets our customers' needs.
Reducing reading room hours has allowed us to put our energy into listing and digitising records and making them available online. This provides better access to New Zealand’s public archives for more users.
We piloted our reading room changes in 2019. We received valuable feedback from this pilot, and have worked to balance the needs of our users with our aspirations as an organisation, to make sure our services are as accessible as possible.
To learn more about our direction for the future of Archives take a look at our 2057 strategy.
Why we 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.
Treaty of Waitangi obligations and reading room hours
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.
Requesting items in the reading rooms - order limits and timeframes
You’ll generally be able to order up to 5 items at a time.
The exception is probates – it's hard to tell the difference between probates, so we only allow you to order one at a time. This reduces the chance that they'll get mixed up.
We usually try to retrieve your items within 30 minutes – but the current COVID-19 Protection Framework means we'll be able to make fewer retrievals each day, and it may take longer to retrieve your items. 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.
- Reading room charges
Ordering digitised versions of archives
You can still request to have archives digitised and sent to you electronically. The turnaround times and charges for this service will stay the same.
Last updated on 17 December 2021