National Archival and Library Institutions Ministerial Group

Our national libraries and archives make a significant and vital contribution to New Zealand culture, and in early 2018, the Government decided to look into how this contribution could be strengthened further.

Read the Ministers' announcement - Strengthening our national archives and libraries on the Beehive website (13/06/2018)

The National Archival and Library Institutions Ministerial Group, co-chaired by the Minister of Internal Affairs and the Associate Minister for Arts, Culture and Heritage, was set up to help progress the programme of work.

Read the Terms of Reference:

The Ministerial Group sought feedback from the sector to better understand their interests and concerns in July and August 2018. The consultation period closed on 19 August 2018.

The five questions that shaped the public consultation were:

  1. What are the two or three key challenges for the national archival and library institutions (Archives New Zealand, the National Library of New Zealand and Ngā Taonga Sound and Vision)? What is the most urgent challenge?
  2. Does the position of Chief Archivist have the independence and authority necessary to be an effective regulator of records and information management within its broad regulatory mandate? Does the position of National Librarian have the independence and authority necessary to carry out the responsibilities of that position? Why/why not?
  3. What changes, if any, would you suggest to the role or structure of Archives New Zealand or the National Library?
  4. What opportunities exist for the national archival and library institutions to work more effectively together in collecting, preserving and providing access to New Zealand's documentary heritage? In particular, what opportunities exist in relation to digital preservation and access? 
  5. What does the public need in the next 30 years from the national archival and library institutions? 

Proactive release of submissions received through public consultation process

The Department of Internal Affairs released the submissions received through the stakeholder engagement process from July to August 2018, and the Summary of Submissions which was provided to Ministers.

In order to protect the privacy of the department staff members who made a submission, their submissions have not been included in this release.

The submissions are categorised on this page by sector. This contents page indicates where each submission is in the sector document set.

The sectors are:

The Summary of Submissions notes that 145 submissions were received. This figure does not include: 

The department also commissioned an independent report on the status of the Chief Archivist.

Themes of feedback

The key themes from the submissions were:

  • concerns about funding;
  • the importance of ensuring these institutions have infrastructure that is fit-for-purpose to preserve our culture and heritage for future generations; and
  • the need to improve the ability of Archives New Zealand and the National Library of New Zealand to provide sector leadership and, for Archives, to help to ensure democratic accountability and that Archives’ mana is recognised.

The process also highlighted opportunities for the institutions to collaborate more effectively.

Based on the public feedback, Ministers agreed that the existing arrangements for the institutions cannot continue.

The Chief Archivist and the National Librarian subsequently hosted workshops with the statutory bodies that advise the Minister of Internal Affairs on library and archives issues. These workshops have further assisted us to develop and consider options to enhance the mana of the institutions and facilitate collaboration among them.

Budget 20 - investment in documentary heritage

Read the latest media release on the Archives New Zealand website.

Having reflected on many of the points made, the Government announced significant investment in documentary heritage as part of Budget Day 2020:

  • Allowance for baselines to be increased for the second successive year for Archives New Zealand and the National Library to address funding pressures and infrastructure issues.
  • Further investment in the digitisation of high-risk audio-visual collections that are such an important record of New Zealand’s society and history in the second half of the last century. This will be managed in partnership with Ngā Taonga Sound and Vision.
  • A once in a generation commitment to Preserving the Nation’s Memory by creating a national documentary heritage campus in the Thorndon area, with Parliament and many government departments nearby.
  • A recommendation on a preferred site for the Regional Shared Repository will be made in the next three months, and funding will be available for the purchase of land and design of the new regional repository.

Moving forward with our work programme

Alongside these announcements, the department has committed to improving the impact of the National Library of New Zealand and Archives New Zealand.

The Chief Executive has decided on several measures to give the National Library and Archives more operational flexibility and transparency, so we are best able to deliver on our 2030 and 2057 Strategies.

Those actions are:

  • A new National Library and Archives appropriation will be implemented from 1 July 2020, providing greater external transparency of the funding available to the institutions.
  • The Chief Archivist and National Librarian having direct access to the Minister and Chief Executive of the Department as required.
  • The Chief Archivist and National Librarian receiving tier 2 financial, HR and contract delegations meaning they can assume greater authority, consistent with their existing accountability.
  • Delegated governance of routine capital spending.
  • To explore opportunities to enhance external reporting for National Library and Archives while remaining a core part of the department’s Annual Reporting process.
  • Aligning the current strategic directions with the Preserving the Nation’s Memory Programme to maximise the benefits from this investment.
  • Developing a sector focussed digital futures approach to align important digital content and access.

While the consensus is that current settings cannot continue, Ministers have agreed that with this level of investment and commitment no structural changes will be made in the current term of this Government to allow the department time to implement the new measures in the context of the significant investments announced.

We value your feedback

Thank you to all who contributed to the stakeholder engagement process for strengthening the contribution of the national archival and library institutions: Archives New Zealand Te Rua Mahara o te Kāwanatanga, the National Library of New Zealand Te Puna Mātauranga o Aotearoa and Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision. We valued your feedback. The information we received from you and others who made submissions or attended stakeholder workshops has informed our current work programme.