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Last updated: 7 January 2020

Auckland Museum Library, Auckland War Memorial Museum

About Auckland Museum Library, Auckland War Memorial Museum

Te Pataka Matapuna

The Library cares for and provides access to the Museum’s Documentary Heritage collections. These comprise manuscripts, ephemera, maps, charts and plans, newspapers and periodicals, rare and contemporary books and pamphlets, photographs, and works of art in the form of paintings, bookplates, and sketches and drawings. The Museum’s own business and research archives are housed alongside these.

The Library’s nationally significant holdings in both original material and published works parallel (and hence support research of) the wider museum collections. We have, for example, an overarching emphasis on the Auckland province and te ao Māori; an impressive collection of botanical books; academic and general-interest works to do with the natural sciences, as well as a wealth of material covering subjects as varied as applied arts and design, ethnology and human history, and, of course, military history.

Our collections are used frequently for research into whakapapa, genealogy, and family history. Where possible, the Library Reading Room collection enriches temporary and short-term exhibitions through the acquisition and display of relevant new material.

Chief among our rare-book holdings are publications relating to early voyaging and travel, particularly in the Pacific. We also have a large and important collection of Pacific-language works, among them one of Alexander Shaw’s rare and prized ‘Tapa Cloth’ books, and the only known extant copy of Thomas Kendall’s A korao no New Zealand; or, the New Zealander's first book, published at Sydney in 1815. The latter has recently been added to the UNESCO Memory of the World cultural-heritage register, which also recognises as internationally important the papers of Sir Edmund Hillary, one of the many prominent New Zealanders whose diaries, letters, photographs, notebooks, and other objects are held in the Museum’s collections. As well as acting as a survey of photographic techniques, the pictorial collection also contains the works of the late Robin Morrison and the Warkworth-based Tudor Collins. Archives of commercial operations such as the Auckland Star and Sparrow Industrial Pictures are also represented.

The Library facilitates the publication of the Museum’s academic periodicals, the annual Records and occasional Bulletins, and has since 1930 received on exchange publications issued by a large number of overseas institutions. We also participate in the National Library of New Zealand’s Interloan scheme, and, although we do not lend books to the general public, we have strong connections with public libraries and other institutions in Auckland and around the country.

The Information, Library, and Enquiry Services team are also instrumental in the promotion and continual improvement of two of the Museum’s flagship digital products: Collections Online, which makes available cataloguing information for — and, increasingly, digital images of — more than a million items in the Museum’s collections, and Online Cenotaph, our biographical database established to commemorate those who have served in the armed forces for New Zealand. In addition to this, the Library manages the preparation and supply of print-quality images of objects and material from collections Museum-wide for commercial-reproduction and personal-research needs.

We have 3296 collections in The Community Archive »

Facilities and services

Contributor type:

  • Museum or art gallery
  • Special/research library or institution

Archive types:

  • Art or literature
  • Business archives
  • Central government records
  • Māori archives
  • Military records
  • Other educational records
  • Personal papers
  • Religious archives
  • School records
  • Voluntary group archives, clubs, societies, etc.
  • Pacific Islands Archives


Visitor information

Opening hours:

Monday – Saturday, 10am – 5pm. Closed Sundays and public holidays, but open on ANZAC Day. See for details.

Onsite parking:

Physical access:

Open to the public. Some material is restricted: it is advisable to check this in the catalogue before a visit.

Contact details

Contact person:


The Domain

Postal address:

Private Bag 92018
Victoria St. West
Auckland 1142

Phone number:

  • +64 9 3067070