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Last updated: 8 January 2020

Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa Archives

About Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa Archives

Museum of New Zealand Archives

The Colonial Museum was established in 1865, and housed in Museum Street in Wellington. James Hector, a Scottish physician and geologist, was appointed as the Museum’s first director. He left many documents relating to his life and work such as a collection of newspaper cuttings dating between 1874 and 1888 on the natural sciences and his correspondence from the Colonial Museum from 1865 until 1903.

The Museum Archive also has research material gathered by Museum staff in many areas of study in the sciences and humanities since 1865, particularly in ethnology (the study of the characteristics of different peoples), the natural sciences, and the Pacific.

There are also the archives of the National Art Gallery dating from when it opened in 1936. This includes material on the development of exhibitions and the acquisition of artworks.

Visit Te Papa’s collections online - - for more information and to search our collection.

We have 73 collections in The Community Archive »

Facilities and services

Contributor type:

  • Museum or art gallery

Archive types:

  • Art or literature
  • Business archives
  • Ethnic records/archives
  • Local government
  • Māori archives
  • Personal papers


No admission charges. However, a cost recovery fee may apply. All researchers should contact the Archivist to discuss their requirements. Photocopying, photographic and audio copying fees apply.

Visitor information

Opening hours:

Access is strictly by appointment only.

Onsite parking:


Physical access:

Permission is needed to access some records: it is the researcher’s responsibility to gain written permission for access to any restricted records in our collections.

Contact details


169 Tory Street

Postal address:

PO Box 467

Phone number:

  • +64 4 3817312

Fax number:

  • +64 4 3817310