Council archives

Visiting an archives office

You can visit any of our four offices to access archives and undertake research.

Our friendly and knowledgeable staff can advise you on:

  • the nature of the information you can expect to find
  • the records
  • research strategies to locate likely sources of information
  • navigating the archives database.

We provide this service free of charge.

Before your visit

Before you visit an archives office, gather as much information as you can. Specific names, dates and places can narrow down the search.

You can also search the archives for material that may be relevant to your research.

Where possible, contact us before your visit so we can retrieve material ready for you to view. Not all archives are held on-site and access to archives held off-site takes two working days.

Please also be aware:

  • Most of the valuation and rating records do not have indexes of individuals, but are arranged geographically street by street.
  • If you are researching an area of the region, published local histories and suburban newspapers can provide valuable information on the development of the area and on places and people of interest. Long time residents can also provide anecdotal evidence of people and events that may not be recorded elsewhere, or can give a different perspective.
  • If you are researching a building or property you will need the street address. Possession of the Certificate of Title (available from Land Information New Zealand) can assist in identifying a property as street numbers have often changed over time and, in the early history of the city, properties did not have them.

Restricted records

The Public Records Act 2005 ensures public access to local authority archives.

You will need to apply for permission to access the few records that have restrictions. The archivist will tell you the appropriate means of seeking and obtaining permission.

Examples of restricted records are:

  • personnel files covered by the Privacy Act 1993
  • confidential minutes of council meetings containing personal information on identifiable individuals or commercially sensitive information
  • records that are fragile. In such instances, either the original will be prepared so that you can view the item without handling it, or a copy of the original will be made available.

During your visit

Archives are unique and irreplaceable. To allow us to preserve the archives for future researchers, we have some rules:

  • All visitors must complete a research enquiry form.
  • All bags must be placed in lockers or designated storage area.
  • No food or beverages are allowed in the reading room.
  • Only a reasonable number of archival items will be issued at one time.
  • All material must be handled with care. Archives are not to be marked or folded, nor is their order to be disturbed.
  • If you come across an item that needs repair, bring it to the attention of the archivist.
  • Ensure hands are clean before using documents.
  • Only use pencils for making notes. Do not rest notepads on any archives.
  • Mobile phones must be switched to silent.
  • You can use laptop computers and personal cameras. No portable scanners are permitted.
  • We have a copying service but any copying of archives is subject to age and physical condition.
  • Do not remove items for copying or use post-it notes. Use paper slips from the archivist to indicate the pages to be copied.
  • Any publication of archives requires written approval and Auckland Council Archives must be acknowledged as the source.
  • Researchers who use the archives as a substantive source for publications are requested to deposit a copy of the completed research with archives.
  • Archives must not be removed from the reading room.
  • No material will be issued after 4.45pm.

Rules for photography

Personal cameras or mobile phone cameras may be used to take photographs of documents or images.

Researchers at our central office can also use our microform scanner to download microfilm/microfiche/aperture card records onto a USB memory stick.

You must complete a research enquiry form first.

Rules for photographing archives

  • Always check with the archivist before photographing. They can tell you the most appropriate way to handle the archive.
  • No camera flash is allowed. Ensure the flash on your camera is turned off.
  • No tripods or specialist lighting equipment is allowed.
  • Do not attempt to flatten or dismantle archives. The archivist can provide book weights to hold edges down.
  • Do not stand on the furniture or remove the archives from the table in an attempt to take photographs.

The following cannot be photographed:

  • Archives that are restricted and you do not have permission to photograph.
  • Archives that are too fragile to be photographed. 

We take no responsibility for any damage or loss to your camera equipment or other devices while using them in the reading room. 

USB memory sticks will be scanned for viruses before using them on our computers.

We provide an in-house digital reprographic service to researchers on a charged basis. We recommend researchers use this service for high resolution or publication quality images.

Copyright and photographing archival records

  • Photographing archival records is subject to copyright. 
  • Auckland Council Archives can give copyright clearance to archives under Auckland Council copyright. This covers documents created by council employees or by a predecessor local authority. 
  • You may need to obtain copyright clearance from the organisation or individuals concerned if copyright is not held by council.
  • It is your responsibility to ensure that copyright is not breached. 

Selling or making public copies of images

Copies of archives are for private use and study only. You cannot sell or pass on any images that you make.

You must get written permission from us to publish or reproduce any images of archives you may have made.

Referencing your sources

You must record and acknowledge the source of an image using our guidelines. For more information, see citation guidelines.

We recommend you photograph the issuing slip before photographing the archives. The archivist will be able to advise further on this.

Citation guidelines

When referencing a record within the Auckland Council Archives collection, the following elements are needed for a complete citation:

  • Record title.
  • Record date.
  • Record and part numbers.
  • Archives series, item and box numbers.

Please acknowledge Auckland Council Archives as the source.

Examples are:

  • Great Barrier Island County Council Minutes, 13.08.1913, pages 3-4, GBI 001 Box 1 Item 1, Auckland Council Archives
  • Plan for extension of Princes Street to Railway Wharf, no date, Auckland City Council engineering plans, ACC 015 Record 700-1, Auckland Council Archives
  • Wharves and Jetties - Policy, 1994-1997, North Shore City Council Subject Files, NSC 600 Record 8000-00 Part 1, Auckland Council Archives
  • Nelson Street Widening, 1964, Howick Borough Council Engineering Department Contracts, HBC 037 Item 63, Auckland Council Archives
  • Mayor and Councillors 1912, Birkenhead Borough and City Council Mayor and Councillors’ Photographs, BCC 485 Box 3 Item 6, Auckland Council Archives

Archive office locations


Colmar Brunton Building
6-10 The Strand (Archives entrance off Channel View Road)

Monday to Friday
2pm to 5pm, or by appointment.

No material will be issued after 4.50pm.


Phone: 09 890 2427
Email: Auckland Council Archives North


Basement, Auckland Central City Library
44-46 Lorne Street
Auckland Central

Monday to Friday
2pm to 5pm, or by appointment.

No material will be issued after 4.50pm.


Phone: 09 890 2427
Email: Auckland Council Archives Central

Visiting us:

Use the entrance to the Academy Cinema and take the stairs two floors down. Ring the bell on the door.  We advise people with restricted mobility to contact us before their visit. We can make arrangements for alternative access through the main library and use the video intercom at the entrance.

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GPT Building
4 Waipareira Avenue (behind the Western Leader building)


By appointment only.


Phone: 09 890 2427
Email: Auckland Council Archives West

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8 Sharkey Street (Archives entrance at rear of building)

By appointment only.


Phone: 09 890 2427
Email: Auckland Council Archives South

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