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Photographic Archive

The Photographic Archive holds images of New Zealand and the Pacific from the 1850s to the present. It includes around 5 million prints, negatives, transparencies and other photographic formats.

The Photographic Archive forms part of the Alexander Turnbull Library collections. It was started in the late 1930s and continues to grow as a visual record of New Zealand and its people.

The Archive holds photographs taken by professional photographers as well as the work of ordinary New Zealanders who have documented their lives, families and communities.

The collection is strong in the following areas:

  • Māori life, people and activities
  • cities and towns of New Zealand
  • the New Zealand Wars
  • New Zealanders in the two World Wars and other international conflicts
  • Samoa, Tonga, Fiji, Cook Islands and other parts of the Pacific
  • Antarctica and the Sub-Antarctic Islands, including the expeditions of Scott, Shackleton and the Ross Sea Committee
  • photographs from the Evening Post, Dominion, The Press, and other newspapers
  • prominent New Zealand photographers of the 19th and 20th centuries, including Daniel Beere, Tyree Studio, Leslie Adkin, John Pascoe, Ans Westra, Samuel Carnell, Irene Koppel and William James Harding
  • portraits of New Zealanders from all walks of life, representing many ethnic and social groups.

Access to the Photographic Archive

This collection is available from the Library's Wellington Reading Room.

Digitised images are available through this site or by talking to Library staff, and can be ordered.

Search this site for descriptions of items in the Photographic Archive. Not all items are described online. If you can’t find what you’re looking for ask a librarian.

More about Turnbull Library Pictures

Get copies from items in this collection

You can order copies of most available photographs in the Archive if copying doesn’t harm the original or breach copyright. Formats available include digital copies on CD-ROM, inkjet prints, and photocopies.

More about making copies

More about copyright and privacy