The Department of Internal Affairs

Te Tari Taiwhenua | Department of Internal Affairs

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Chief Archivist announces disposal moratorium on records relevant to Royal Commission of Inquiry into Historical Abuse in State Care and in the Care of Faith-based Institutions

28 March 2019

Archives New Zealand announced today that the Chief Archivist has issued a General Notice (PDF 71 KB) revoking authority to dispose of public records relevant to the Royal Commission of Inquiry into Historical Abuse in State Care and in the Care of Faith-based Institutions Te Kōmihana Karauna mō ngā Tūkino o Mua ki te Hunga i Tiakina e te Kāwanatanga i Tiakina hoki e ngā Whare o te Whakapono.

Under section 20 of the Public Records Act 2005 (the Act), the Chief Archivist is exercising his authority to implement a moratorium on the disposal of any records relevant to the Royal Commission.

“The disposal moratorium is necessary to ensure that relevant records are protected and are made available to the Royal Commission, reinforcing the Government’s expectations of agency transparency, accountability and co-operation,” says Chief Archivist Richard Foy.

The Chief Archivist has the independent authority to suspend permission to dispose of any relevant public records using both general and agency-specific disposal authorities issued under the Act.

“In exercising their duties to maintain public records under section 17 of the Act, public offices need to consider and actively preserve all records that may be relevant to the Royal Commission’s inquiry,” says Richard Foy.

“It is important to ensure that no records that are required are inadvertently disposed of by what would otherwise be considered prudent business practices.”

The disposal moratorium provides clear direction and guidelines for public offices to follow.


For further information please contact or 027 535 8639.

More useful information

What is the Public Records Act?
The Public Records Act 2005 (the Act) sets out how information in Government is to be created and managed.
Why do we need it?

To ensure the Government has reliable recordkeeping to maintain accountability, integrity of Government records, and the protection of New Zealand’s documentary heritage.

What does the Act do?
The Act outlines the responsibilities and requirements for public offices and local authorities. You can find out more here:

The Act also sets out Government recordkeeping requirements administered by Archives New Zealand. They include:

  • Issue standards for recordkeeping in Government
  • Administer independent audits of recordkeeping practices
  • Report to Parliament annually on the state of government recordkeeping
  • Inspect central and local government recordkeeping incidents

What is the role of Chief Archivist?
The Chief Archivist is Richard Foy. The Act authorises the Chief Archivist to set the standards for creating and maintaining records and to carry out audits to ensure this is accomplished.

Why is this so important?
Correct recordkeeping by government ensures effective services are delivered to New Zealanders and helps maintain accountability and transparency in government.

Public records should be accessible and used by all New Zealanders. People can then better understand the past, and how important it is to our country today.

By making sure government records are protected, information relating to all New Zealanders is better retained and managed.