Collecting plan – Music: 2016-2018

The purpose of the General Music Collection is to support New Zealand's libraries in meeting demand for resources to support performance and the general study of music in New Zealand.

Purpose of this plan

The purpose of this collecting plan is to describe the extent and scope of collecting to be undertaken and any subject priorities for the Music Collections of the National Library and the Alexander Turnbull Library during the period 2016 to 2018. The Plan includes print and electronic (both online and off-line) publications.

This collecting plan was developed in accordance with the collecting principles outlined in the National Library of New Zealand's Collections Policy.

The purpose of the Alexander Turnbull Library is to acquire, preserve and provide access to current and historical printed and electronic material in order to support research. Turnbull heritage collections will be preserved in perpetuity.

The purpose of the General Music Collection is to support New Zealand's libraries in meeting demand for resources to support performance and the general study of music in New Zealand. Music in the National Library's General Lending and General Serials Collection (National Library's General Collections) is available for use both onsite at the Library's Wellington premises and through New Zealand and overseas libraries via inter-library loan. The National Library also provides a hire service for performance sets of choral and orchestral works.

Scope of the collection

The collections covered by this plan comprise the Archive of New Zealand Music, music resources in the Alexander Turnbull Library's New Zealand and Pacific Collection and in the National Library's General Collections and the National Library's Choral and Orchestral Hire Score Collection.

The Archive of New Zealand Music

The Archive of New Zealand Music (ANZM) was established in 1974 by the Alexander Turnbull Library. The objective was to build a comprehensive national collection of material relating to New Zealand music, musicians, groups and musical organisations, capable of sustaining advanced research in New Zealand music studies.

The ANZM contains unpublished music scores and recordings, manuscripts and correspondence, organisational and company records, photographs and ephemera, oral histories, and published items. Audio-visual media range from acetate discs through to open-reel tapes and born digital files.

All music styles and genres are represented, including classical, popular, Māori, opera, rock, jazz, folk, Pacific Island, country, world, theatre music, electroacoustic and sonic arts. In keeping with the aim of building a national collection, emphasis is placed on material of national significance.

Included are unique collections of material created by New Zealand musicians, composers and songwriters, and musical organisations and companies. Other important collections relate to music education, criticism, patronage, librarianship, radio broadcasting, publishing, and musicology.

As the Alexander Turnbull Library also acts as a repository for the Wellington area, the ANZM also collects material of regional significance.

Items from other parts of the world may be collected when they have been brought into the country by immigrants and provide context for immigrant music cultures in New Zealand, or if they document the musical activities of New Zealanders overseas.

Music in the Alexander Turnbull Library's New Zealand and Pacific Collection

This collection contains New Zealand music publications. As at August 2015, it comprises over 24,000 sound recordings (including over 5,000 born digital items), and nearly 7,000 scores and sheet music items. It also includes numerous print publications, both monographs and serials, and websites relating to New Zealand and Pacific music.

Music in the National Library's General Collections

This collection contains over 100,000 sound recordings and 55,000 scores. In addition to its collection of New Zealand music and works about New Zealand music it has a wide range of printed works, including music encyclopaedias and other reference material, serials, biographies, books on musical styles, techniques, musicianship and music teaching resources.

The National Library's Choral and Orchestral Hire Score Collection

This is a collection of multiple copies of the standard repertoire for choirs and orchestras. It currently comprises more than 5000 orchestral sets, over 3000 choral sets, and nearly 600 band sets. The orchestral works of Douglas Lilburn form an important part of the collection.


The following are not collected as part of the Archive of New Zealand Music:

  • Records of government departments and other official records covered by the Public Records Act 2005, such as those of music-related agencies and organisations.
  • Duplicated items already held by the Alexander Turnbull Library and the National Library of New Zealand, unless items are particularly rare or form an integral part of a collection.
  • Items in poor condition or which pose a risk to the collections, unless these are very rare, are integral to a larger collection or include important provenance evidence or content, based on the Curator's discretion.

Collection Strengths

The Archive of New Zealand Music comprises an outstanding collection of unpublished material (including paper, audio-visual, and born-digital) relating to New Zealand music and musicians. Highlights include:

  • Music scores and papers of New Zealand composers, examples including the collections of Douglas Lilburn, Jenny McLeod, Jack Body, and John Psathas.
  • Records of music organisations such as the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra and Composers' Association of New Zealand.
  • Popular artists' papers, unpublished recordings, and photographs, including those of Johnny Cooper and Dinah Lee.
  • Collections of notable New Zealand classical performers such as Warwick Braithwaite and Donald Munro.
  • Recordings, scores, and papers relating to Māori music, composers, musicians, and organisations, including those of Ngāti Poneke Young Māori Club and Richard Nunns.
  • The Dennis Huggard Jazz Archive.
  • Research papers of New Zealand musicologists and music scholars, including John Mansfield Thomson, Peter Downes, and Allan Thomas.
  • Papers of individuals who have notably influenced New Zealand music, such as Fred Turnovsky and Frederick Page.
  • Records of music companies, including unpublished recordings.
  • Oral histories of musicians which include Sir Donald McIntyre, Sister Mary Leo, Wayne Mason, Gillian Whitehead, and Chris Knox.
  • Nearly 9,000 unpublished New Zealand music recordings across all genres, including classical, rock, Māori and Pacific Island, and jazz.

The New Zealand and Pacific Collections contain a comprehensive array of New Zealand music publications, with many scarce items. These include a first New Zealand edition of the national anthem, 'God defend New Zealand' (ca.1879) and a pre-release acetate of the first wholly-produced New Zealand record, 'Blue Smoke' (ca.1949). The collections also contain the most complete public holdings of the Kiwi, Viking, and Flying Nun Records catalogues. Over 1,000 websites relating to New Zealand music have been digitally archived.

The National Library's General Collections contain an extensive collection of sound recordings covering a wide range of Western classical and popular music, and an extensive collection of performance and study scores, including many complete works sets.

Choral and Orchestral Hire Score Collection includes Lilburn's orchestral performance scores.

Collecting Principles

The National Library of New Zealand collection policy provides a suite of principles that guide all collecting across the published and unpublished collections by the National Library and Alexander Turnbull Library.

The relevant principles from the collection development policy are provided below, with an explanation of how they will be realised for the Music collections.

Principle No. 1

Developing breadth and depth in the Library's research collections requires decisions to be informed by, and responsive to, current and emerging research trends as well as the anticipated needs of future generations of New Zealanders.


Staff working closely with the ANZM take an active role in the New Zealand music studies community. This active role enables the Library to be informed about research trends and to identify what music-related material of today could be preserved for the researchers of tomorrow.

Priority areas will be targeted from time to time to address gaps in the ANZM collection and the documentary heritage of New Zealand music, so that future researcher needs are more likely to be addressed by the ANZM collections.

The Alexander Turnbull Library welcomes and encourages dialogue with any part of the research community regarding the collection of New Zealand music-related material that supports an existing or identified future research need.

The National Library welcomes and encourages dialogue with New Zealand librarians regarding the music component of the Library's General Collection.

Principle No. 2

Active engagement with Māori helps build collections of documentary heritage and taonga created by Māori and relating to Māori, for the benefit of all New Zealanders.


The Alexander Turnbull Library is committed to ensuring that music-related material created by Māori is collected, preserved and made available to the highest possible standard, in ways that are acceptable to Māori, and are carried out in consultation with appropriate iwi and pan-iwi representatives.

Principle No. 3

The Library has an important leadership role in collaborating and coordinating collection related activities across institutional and national boundaries to enable New Zealanders to connect to information important to their lives and to support strong documentary heritage and tāonga collections for all New Zealanders.


The Alexander Turnbull Library always considers the most appropriate repository for a collection prior to acquisition, which can often be another institution within New Zealand or further abroad. Unpublished material with provenance in the Pacific Islands is not collected in competition with any recognized collecting institution of the Pacific Islands.

The ANZM and New Zealand and Pacific Published Collections will continue to seek to fill gaps in their holdings, and will work with institutions which are reviewing their collections in these areas.

The Alexander Turnbull Library will investigate extending the scope of the ANZM to include an increasing amount of evidence of the music production process, including multi-track recordings, masters, and studio session files.

The Library will seek to work with music distribution platforms both in New Zealand and overseas to acquire sound recordings of New Zealand music.

Principle No. 6

The Library takes into account the cost of acquiring, storing, managing and making accessible collection items when building its collections.


With the exception of acquiring access copies for physical format NZ&P audio/visual material, the Library will not usually accept items which duplicate those already held in its collections, but will advise donors about other possible repositories for such items.

Principle No. 7

The Library's General Collections will increasingly focus on published resources relating to New Zealand and the Pacific, with only selected areas of collecting outside this.


The Library will selectively collect general works in music studies, and works about musical styles, traditions, people, and areas of musicological study that have crossover significance for New Zealand and the Pacific. It also collects music instruction books in areas where there is ongoing demonstrated demand.

Principle No. 8

For content in the Library's General Collections other than New Zealand and the Pacific focus area, the Library will facilitate access for users in preference to acquiring and owning such content.


The Library will review current print journal subscriptions with a view to moving these to online subscriptions.

The Library will work towards providing offsite access to many of its subscription electronic resources by the end of 2017.

Collecting Priorities 2016-2018

With its focus on collecting New Zealand and Pacific materials, the National Library will prioritise its areas of music collecting and will be selective within these priorities. The list below gives the areas the Library has chosen to collect in and indicated the extent to which it will collect.

The Archive of New Zealand Music

The ANZM is built to sustain advanced research in New Zealand music studies and preserve heritage taonga in-perpetuity for all New Zealanders. Areas of priority include, but are not limited to, the following.

Ongoing priorities:

  • Scores, recordings, and papers of composers and concert performers
  • All styles and genres of popular music
  • Māori music
  • The archives of music organisations
  • Unpublished sound recordings of New Zealand music and by New Zealand musicians
  • Papers of New Zealand music scholars, critics, and writers
  • Records of music publishers, retailers, studios, record labels, and other companies
  • Pacific Island music
  • Music of migrant individuals and groups resident in New Zealand
  • Music education and librarianship

Emerging priorities:

  • Studio master recordings
  • Born digital scores

Proactive priorities:

  • Supporting the ability for current and future donors to create, manage and donate born digital collections

Alexander Turnbull Library New Zealand and PacificCollection

One copy of all publications, both physical and electronic format, which are in scope for New Zealand legal deposit. Formats included are written publications (printed books, serials, scores, both printed and electronic) and audio-visual recordings, both online and offline.

Musical works and performances by New Zealanders which are published overseas and overseas publications about New Zealand music.

National Library General Collections

One copy of all physical format publications which are in scope for New Zealand legal deposit. Formats included are written publications (printed books, serials, scores) and offline audio-visual recordings.

The Library will continue to develop its collection of Pacific music and works about music in the Pacific.

The Library will selectively collect books related to areas of ongoing research interest in New Zealand.

Alongside the focus on collecting New Zealand and Pacific materials, the Library will selectively collect to support demand for the general study of music in New Zealand.

The Library will collect instruction books in areas where there is ongoing demonstrated demand.

The Library will maintain its current subscriptions to collected editions.

The Library will continue to support performance primarily through the choral and orchestral score hire collection (see below).

National Library Choral and Orchestral Hire Score Collection

  • Replacing damaged or incomplete high-use scores
  • Filling gaps in the standard repertoire, with new titles only being added where there is known demand or reasonable expectation of use
  • New scholarly editions of the standard repertoire
  • Band music only added in response to requests

Supporting Documentation

This collecting plan is supporting by further documentation that outlines some of the criteria and objectives for assessing and documenting music collecting decisions.

Download the Collecting plan — Music: 2016-2018

Music collecting plan (pdf, 153KB)