Improving access to information for New Zealanders

Making the information we hold available to New Zealanders is critical.

Close to 400,000 print resources and digital content items were provided to schools to support literacy and learning across the country through our Services to Schools programme. The National Library works alongside the Ministry of Education to support students and teachers to discover, use, create and share these resources.

The National Library has agreements in place with 39 councils to provide affordable and efficient management of physical and electronic collections for local library users.


Over the year, these libraries served 1.7 million New Zealanders (almost 34% of New Zealand’s population) and circulated over 14.3 million items (library books, CDs, DVDs, magazines, and music scores).

Access to information for all New Zealanders has improved.

We’ve continued to tackle the challenge of the long-term preservation of, and access to, digital information of national significance. This includes investment to digitise the unique documentary heritage held by Archives New Zealand and the National Library, making it more accessible now and for future generations.

Over 1.7 million heritage items were digitised and made available to New Zealanders in the past year. We work together with commercial and non-profit organisations on some digitisation projects which means the costs are shared, our outputs are increased, and the collections can be integrated with other like collections from around the world.

Archives New Zealand continued to develop its digital transfer processes, completing its first born-digital email transfer in 2018/19.

The National Library, through the Alexander Turnbull Library (ATL), acquired the Flying Nun Records collection of master studio recordings which significantly strengthened the Library’s coverage of New Zealand music and popular culture. The collection comprises approximately 1,000 recordings from 1982 - 2002. The National Library has started digitising the collection which will preserve the collection and make it accessible to researchers.

‘At risk’ material has been preserved and made available online.


Since Archives New Zealand established an upscaled digitisation programme in July 2017, over 80,000 images have been digitised.

This material includes Native Land Administration records, 40 & 41 Squadron Unit Histories from the Vietnam War, and Samoan Land Registers, among many others. The digitisation programme started with Crown Purchase Deeds (records of land transactions); Colonial Secretaries’ Inwards correspondence; and negatives and photographs from several government departments (which are currently hard to access and copy in physical form).

The National Library placed over 540,000 digitised items online. This included magazines, newsletters and sound recordings in Te Reo Māori from our holdings, adding to the body of knowledge available for local and international speakers, readers and researchers of Te Reo and Mātauranga Māori. Historic Māori magazines Te Kaea, Tu Tangata and He Muka were digitised and made available this year. Other titles made available include Rip it Up and White Ribbon.

A storybook app called Turikatuku was developed this year as part of the Increasingly Digital project. The development process provided insights into the growing need for local resources, particularly the need for authentic local te reo Māori content derived from a Mātauranga Māori perspective. This resource demonstrates one approach to creating te reo Māori learning resources based on the stories and histories important to local communities. The National Library, through Services to Schools, supported Te Kura Kaupapa Māori o Whangaroa to develop the narrative. Kiwa Digital Ltd was contracted to develop and produce the storybook application working directly with the kura and community.

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