Oral History and Sound

The Oral History and Sound collection is part of the Alexander Turnbull Library.

There are more than 10,000 recordings in the collection. Recordings include interviews with people from throughout New Zealand and the Pacific, of various ethnicities, iwi (tribe) and hapū (sub-tribe), occupations, political affiliations and interests. Talks, readings and events are also covered.

Most of the collection has been recorded since the 1960s. The collection covers New Zealand society, culture, community, and political history from the late 19th century to the present.

Interviews usually have accompanying documentation, including an abstract – a detailed time-coded index providing quick access to the contents of the recording. A few interviews are fully or partially transcribed. Photographs and other relevant material are sometimes included.

There are Māori oral history projects and recordings of talks, lectures and other events in te reo Māori.

If you'd like to donate any material to the collection, contact the Curator, Oral History and Sound.

Get advice, training, and funding to help you do oral history

Access items in this collection

You can find out what oral history interviews we have in our collection via Tiaki. If you find an interview that you want to listen to, the best way to organise this is to contact the Research Librarian, Oral History through the Ask a Librarian form.

Borrow items in this collection

You can get Oral History interviews and recordings by asking an approved library to interloan them from us, subject to conditions such as interview restrictions. Contact the Research Librarian oral history to discuss your request before putting it in to your local library.

More about interloans

Get copies of items in this collection

You can order extracts from some interviews and other audio and video recordings for use in exhibitions, websites, broadcasts and lectures. Contact us to discuss your requirements, and permission procedures.

Interviews and other recordings may not be copied in full for private research. Notes may be taken while listening or viewing. If you wish to transcribe material from an interview, discuss this with staff first.

More about making copies

More about copyright and privacy

Get help

We can answer your enquiries in person or by email, letter or phone. You can also use the Ask a Librarian form.

The Oral History Advisor can assist with oral history training, advice, and support.

The Research Librarian, Oral History, is available to help researchers with access to the collections.

The Curator, Oral History and Sound, develops, cares for, and manages our oral history and unpublished sound collections. An appointment is required.