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13 Jul 2012
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Many of New Zealand's theatrical records are lost forever.  You can help save what remain and keep them for the future. 

The New Zealand Theatre Archive (NZTA) is a charitable trust promoting the preservation of theatre archives. We aim to identify all New Zealand's theatre archives, to list them, and encourage theatres and individuals across the country to place their theatre treasures in repositories where they can be professionally preserved. The NZTA also supports theatre groups in the management and preservation of their own archives. 

Theatre archives themselves may take the form of:

  • Minutes
  • Correspondence
  • Production records
  • Posters and flyers
  • Programmes
  • Production photos
  • Set and costume designs
  • Scripts.

The NZTA cannot house and preserve these records itself – it has no building or staff to look after them. It provides links to national, regional and local archives, libraries and other institutions that provide professional care for theatre archives. In short, the NZTA has no space of its own to grab that box of “theatre miscellaneous 2002” from under your mate's house. What we aim to do is identify that such a box exists, and encourage the owners to take the box to their local repository before it rots or is rained on. The NZTA can help identify the closest repository to you. Just let us know where you are and what you've got!

Rather than housing the records, the NZTA aims to:

  • Identify all significant public and private theatre archive collections throughout the country;
  • List New Zealand theatre archive collections and provides information on their location and accessibility for researchers, students, scholars, practitioners and the interested public;
  • Facilitate the deposit of 'at risk' archives with repositories which provide professional care;
  • Provides professional advice about archival care to those retaining their own archives.

In order to identify and preserve New Zealand records before more are lost, the NZTA has:

  • Done a nationwide surveys to find theatre archives;
  • Created the NZTA Database: a register of New Zealand theatre collections held by theatre people, companies, venues, libraries, archives, museums and historical societies. See The Community Archive website for listings of many of these collections;
  • Written a manual entitled Caring for Your Theatre Archives
    ($15 + postage in New Zealand, $20 + postage overseas, available for purchase by emailing
  • Recorded oral history archive interviews with some significant New Zealand theatre people. More oral histories are on their way.

Contact the NZTA

If you know of theatre records that need saving feel free to let the NZTA know by emailing

We can help identify the closest repository to you. Just let us know where you are and what you've got!