Music Hire Service

We hold the largest collection of musical performance material in New Zealand. The National Library’s music hire collection includes the substantial collection donated in 1987 by Radio New Zealand. We can offer over 5,000 orchestral sets, 3,000 choral sets, and a number of band sets for hire. Suggestions for new additions are welcome.

The National Library is also the designated hire agent for Douglas Lilburn’s orchestral works, having taken over this role from the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra. As well as our standard hire charges, an additional fee of NZ$60 (+GST) applies to sets from this collection. This fee goes to the Lilburn Trust, a charitable trust established by Douglas Lilburn in 1984, which supports projects and awards to foster and promote New Zealand music.

More information about the Lilburn Trust fee

Email if you have any questions about using the Music Hire Service.

Music Hire services

Searching for music hire material from the National Library.

Use the National Library of New Zealand Catalogue

Searching for music hire material from the National Library and other organisations.

Use Te Puna Search

Registering as a participant in the Music Hire Service, either to hire from the National Library, or to make your collection available for hire by others.

Use the Register for the Music Hire Service form

Requesting hire of music hire material from the National Library.

Use the Booking form for music hire material

Obtaining contact details for other hiring organisations.

Use the Directory of New Zealand Libraries

Requesting to add your music to the New Zealand libraries catalogue, Te Puna Search, or to update your existing listings on the catalogue.

Use the new or updated hire set record form

The Collections


The orchestral sets cover much of the standard repertoire. They also include cantatas, oratorios, light orchestral music, song arrangements, complete operas, operatic excerpts and simplified versions of some orchestral works. Orchestral sets usually include a full score or piano conductor score and parts.


The choral collection falls into two main categories: multiple copies of large-scale choral and operatic works, and sets of part-songs.

Search for music

Hireable music held by the Library can be found on the National Library of New Zealand Catalogue, or on Te Puna Search which also includes hire material from other organisations around the country.

National Library of New Zealand Catalogue searching for music 

Search for music hire material on the National Library of New Zealand Catalogue

Download help on searching the National Library of New Zealand Catalogue for music hire material (pdf, 1.5MB)

Te Puna search for music

Search for music hire material in Te Puna Search

Download help on using Te Puna Search to find music hire items (pdf, 1.7MB)


To hire music from the National Library, you need to register with us. You only need to do this once, but if your organisation's details change, you'll need to update us. There is no charge for registration.

If you're hiring material from another organisation you don't need to register with us, but you'll need to abide by their terms.

Register to hire music from the National Library, or update your details

Hiring from the National Library

We charge fees for the hire of material from the National Library music hire collection. Other organisations have their own hire rates, so please check with them directly.

Please request material well in advance of the required date, as preparation of material is complex and time-consuming. Every effort will be made to fill your request on time, but we cannot be responsible for material returned late by other clients.

You can reserve items to hire at a later date. Use the booking form and specify the dates you wish to reserve.

Booking form for music hire material

Charges (NZ$, excluding GST)

Music hire material can be hired for up to four months. If the material is available, you can hire it for further months by prior arrangement at an extra charge.

Duration (minutes) Minimum charge (up to four months) $NZ excl GST Charge for each subsequent month $NZ excl GST
Choral sets (per score)
Less than 10 minutes $0.80 $0.40
10 to under 30 minutes $1.20 $0.60
30 to under 60 minutes $1.60 $0.80
60 to under 90 minutes $2.00 $1.00
90 minutes and above $2.60 $1.30
Orchestral sets (per set)
Less than 10 minutes $26.00 $13.00
10 to under 30 minutes $35.00 $17.50
30 to under 60 minutes $44.00 $22.00
60 to under 90 minutes $53.00 $26.50
90 minutes and above $97.00 $48.50
Band sets (per set)
Any duration $26.00 $13.00

Charges are based on the period up to and including your final performance date, regardless of the number of performances. All hire material must be returned within 16 days of the final performance.

Charges are based on duration (minutes) of the full work. Durations are at the National Library’s discretion, taken from sources such as publishers’ websites, printed reference resources, audio and video recordings of works.

Lilburn Trust fee

Standard hire charges apply to sets in the Lilburn Hire collection as well as an additional fee of $60 (+GST) per set for the rehearsal period and first performance. The fee is charged at half price for each subsequent performance.

When material for Prodigal Country is hired one fee shall be applied per hire regardless of whether both the orchestral set and vocal scores are hired together or separately.

Postage costs

All outward postage costs are additional to these charges. They are charged at cost and will be included in the invoice. It is your responsibility to organise and pay for return postage.


An invoice will be created for the applicable charges by the Department of Internal Affairs after all the music material hired has been returned. You must pay each invoice in accordance with the requirements of that invoice. If the music material is not used for any reason you will be charged for the period you have had the material so please choose carefully before hiring music.

Lost item charges

The charge for a lost or damaged item is the replacement cost of purchasing that item. A non-refundable administration fee of $50.00 (+GST) is charged (per invoice) for all lost or damaged items replaced by the National Library. You are welcome to purchase a new replacement copy of the lost item if it is available and can be sourced promptly.


National Library items for hire are not available through interloan, but we may hold a copy of the score in our General Music Collection.

Browse the General Music Collection

Performing rights

You will need to obtain performance permission from the appropriate authority. Contact the Australasian Performing Rights Association (APRA) for more details.

Contact APRA through their website

Short-term loans

Perusal copies of orchestral or band scores and single copies of choral scores are available for short-term loan at no cost.

Care of hired materials

Music may be marked lightly in soft pencil. All markings, with the exception of bowing, must be removed before music is returned.

Please do not repair music, except in an emergency. Use only invisible Scotch mending tape, not standard sellotape or vinyl tape.

Before returning hired material, please check that all sets are complete. Orchestral and band parts should be checked against the contents list provided inside the folder. Please arrange parts in the order in which they are listed. Pack parcels well to prevent the music from moving around. Items can be returned by post, courier, or in person.

Sets need to remain complete to be useful to others, so you will be charged for any missing parts. Please let us know right away if a piece of a set is lost, so we can prepare replacement materials for the next client.