New Zealand Cartoon and Comics Archive

The New Zealand Cartoon and Comics Archive includes over 60,000 cartoons reflecting New Zealand society and politics. Find out how to access the New Zealand Cartoon and Comics Archive, how to get copies and highlights of the Archive.

On this page

What’s the New Zealand Cartoon and Comics Archive?
Cartoons and comics research guides
History of the New Zealand Cartoon Archive
The New Zealand Cartoon and Comics Archive collection
View cartoons from the New Zealand Cartoon and Comics Archive
How to order copies
Publications

What’s the New Zealand Cartoon and Comics Archive?

The New Zealand Cartoon and Comics Archive contains cartoons and caricatures from the 19th century to the present and a growing collection of comic art. We also collect material relating to artists’ lives, such as their personal papers or photographs.

The New Zealand Cartoon and Comics Archive is contained within the Alexander Turnbull Library Drawings, Paintings and Prints collection. The Archive supplements the Library’s collections of published cartoons and comics, acquired through Legal Deposit.

Drawings, Paintings and Prints collection

Cartoons and comics research guides

Need help accessing this collection? Use our research guides to help you get started.

Cartoon research guide
Comics and zines research guide

A cartoon gallery of 'Wellington hairdos', illustrating aspects of areas of Wellington. They include 'The Terrace twirl', 'The Hutt Valley flyer', 'The Pt Jerningham centre part', 'The Majestic updraft', 'The Mt Cook moustache', 'the Newtown following breeze', 'The Beaufort de-scale (Brooklyn)', 'The Khandallah kiss', 'The Island Bay salt lick' and 'The Beehive (flag optional)'.
Sharon Murdoch, Wellington Hairdos, September 2013. Ref: DCDL-0026505.

History of the New Zealand Cartoon Archive

The New Zealand Cartoon Archive was launched on 1 April 1992 as a partnership between the New Zealand Cartoon Archive Trust and the Alexander Turnbull Library.

In 2005, the Cartoon Archive was fully absorbed into the Turnbull Library, and the Trust was replaced with a Guardians committee. The Cartoon Archive collection continues to grow steadily with hundreds of new digital items added every month.

On 17 July 2019, the Guardians announced that they were stepping down, after championing and supporting the work of the Archive for many years. Ian F Grant, the founder of the Archive, has written about the highlights of the first 27 years of the Archive. You can also view an archived copy of the Guardians website, cartoons.org.nz.

Blog — A bit of cheek: Ian Grant looks back on 27 years of the Cartoon Archive

Archived copy of cartoons.org.nz

With the Guardians stepping down, the Library took the opportunity to reconsider the scope of the collection in order to sustain and support future research into the art and world of cartooning and the Archive was formally expanded to create the New Zealand Cartoon and Comics Archive.

Guardians of the New Zealand Cartoon Archive stepping down

The New Zealand Cartoon and Comics Archive collection

The New Zealand Cartoon and Comics Archive is the collection of cartoons and caricatures held by the Alexander Turnbull Library. The Archive includes:

  • Cartoons, comics and caricatures by and about New Zealanders, reflecting a range of social, cultural and political perspectives and art forms and styles. We retain a strong commitment to collecting editorial cartoons.
  • Digital copies of newspaper and magazine cartoons, from ca 2005 to the present, by cartoonists such as Tom Scott, Bob Brockie, Chris Slane, Sharon Murdoch and David Fletcher.
  • Original cartoon drawings from the 20th and 21st centuries by cartoonists such as Nevile Lodge, Eric Heath, Sharon Murdoch, Dylan Horrocks and Murray Ball.
  • Manuscript material created by or relating to artists’ lives.

The Alexander Turnbull Library does the following:

  • Describes, houses and arranges access to the archive of cartoons, comics and caricatures
  • Offers a service for distance enquiries about cartoons via our Ask a Librarian service
  • Offers a service to order copies from the collection
  • Promotes the collection through cartoon-related events, publications and exhibitions

Ask a Librarian

View cartoons from the New Zealand Cartoon and Comics Archive

Search the National Library website to find cartoons and comics that we hold. There is some useful information about searching for cartoons on the National Library website in the New Zealand Cartoons research guide.

New Zealand Cartoons research guide

You will be able to view digitally born cartoons, and print cartoons that have been digitised on the National Library website.

If you want to see print cartoons that have not yet been digitised, use the ‘Send an Enquiry’ button on the website page of the cartoon you are interested in.

How to order copies

You can order colour or black and white copies of items in this collection, and the Library can help you clear copyright on the images if they are in copyright.

We can provide digital copies for reproduction in publications, films and websites, and digital prints suitable for framing.

Cartoons are in copyright if the cartoonist is still living or if they have been deceased for less than 50 years.

If you would like to order a cartoon that is in copyright, you can use the Ask a Librarian service to obtain contact details for the cartoonist or copyright holder.

Ask a Librarian

More about making copies

More about copyright and privacy

Publications

The Archive has published a number of books and exhibition catalogues. Earlier titles are now out-of-print but are available through many New Zealand libraries. You can check availability using the National Library catalogue.

  • ‘Bishops, boozers, brethren and burkas: A cartoon history of religion in New Zealand’, Mike Grimshaw, 2019.
  • ‘Savaged to suit: Māori and Cartooning in New Zealand.’ Paul Diamond, 2018.
  • ‘Brockie: A memoir in words, cartoons and sketches.’ Bob Brockie, 2015.
  • ‘The Other Side of The Ditch: A cartoon century in the New Zealand-Australia relationship.’ Ian F Grant, 2001.
  • ‘Having a Ball: A cartoon history of New Zealand rugby.’ Ian F Grant, 2001.
  • ‘Between the Lines: A cartoon century of New Zealand political and social history, 1906-2005.’ Ian F Grant, 2005.
  • ‘Lodge Laughs at Wellington – celebrating the life and cartoons of Nevile Lodge,’ 2004.
  • ‘Public Lives – New Zealand Premiers and Prime Ministers 1856-2003.’ Ian F Grant, 2003.
  • ‘Harpies & Heroines: A cartoon history of women’s changing roles in New Zealand’, 2003.
  • ‘Guts & Glory — An Exhibition of Rugby Cartoons.’ Exhibition catalogue, 2000.
  • ‘David Low — Kiwi Cartoonist on Hitler’s Blacklist.’ Exhibition catalogue, 1995.