About the Archive



Filmcraft, New Zealand Government Publicity Office (logo detail)

Established in 1981, the Film Archive is an independent charitable trust overseen by a Board of Trustees representing film, archival, Maori and community interests. The Film Archive’s constitution and kaupapa express a commitment to collect, protect and connect New Zealand’s film and television history.


When an item is in the care of the Archive, it is considered the property of the depositor. Subsequently the copyright for the material remains with the legal rights holders



Surf Girl, Roy Evans, c1958

With no statutory deposit legislation for film in New Zealand, material is deposited voluntarily - and without cost to the depositor. The Film Archive maintains a kaitiaki role over the collections.

The collections of predominantly New Zealand film, video and television date from 1895 to the present day. Every genre of filmmaking - feature films, documentaries, short films, home movies, newsreels, television programmes and film and television advertisements - is represented. There is also a significant documentation collection which includes publicity materials, stills, posters, production records, props, costumes and equipment housed in Wellington.

As there is no statutory deposit legislation for film in New Zealand, material is deposited voluntarily - and without cost to the depositor. Maintaining a kaitiaki role over the collections the Film Archive’s guardianship ensures ownership of the original item remains with the depositor and copyright is maintained by the appropriate parties. In the case of material with Maori content, the Film Archive actively maintains relationships with whanau/hapu/iwi to ensure appropriate long term care and access.

The collections of predominantly New Zealand film and video dates from 1895 to the present day.

The Film Archive draws on items from the collections for regular screenings and events in its purpose-built cinema and gallery in Wellington, with screenings also held regularly around New Zealand as part of the community access and Te Hokinga Mai programmes.

The Archive has research libraries in Wellington and Auckland available at no cost to the public, with staff on hand for specialist research and large scale projects.  Researchers are able to use the online catalogue to search the Archive’s holdings and find out where viewing items are held. In 2008 the Jonathan Dennis library was created in Wellington to allow research access to the documentation collection.


Charlie Bray Kaitaia District

Charlie Bray's Traveling Film Show, Kaitaia District, 1920s 

As part of its commitment to reaching audiences nationwide, the Film Archive has an Auckland Office and co-ordinates medianet a network of access sites in art galleries and museums in Dunedin, Christchurch, Otaki, New Plymouth, Hamilton and Whangarei.

The Film Archive is a member of FIAF (Fédération Internationale des Archives du Film), AMIA (Association of Moving Image Archivists) and SEPAVAA (South East Asia and Pacific Audio-Visual Archives Association), and adheres to international standards of collection management, preservation and access.