Archives are original records that have historic value because they contribute in some way to the remembering of a story or event. On its own an individual archive may not tell you the whole story but when pieced together with other archives, memories about a way of life or facts about an historic event begin to emerge. Archives are primary source (original) records, such as letters or minute books, photographs, maps and film footage – all of which would be impossible to replace if lost or damaged.

Our collecting scope includes records of local government, voluntary groups, sport and recreational groups, ethnic and cultural organisations, education and school records, maps and photographs, personal papers and business archives from the City of Invercargill and the surrounding Southland District. 

Unlike items in the Library, archives are not able to be browsed on open shelves or borrowed. They are instead stored in secure, climate controlled areas and can only be viewed in the Archive Research Room. You will find the Archive Research Room and the Archives staff in Information Services on the first floor.

Archive Office Hours

Day Office Hours
Monday 9:00am - 5:00pm
Tuesday 9:00am - 5:00pm
Wednesday 9:00am - 7:00pm
Thursday 9:00am - 5:00pm
Friday 9:00am - 5:00pm
Saturday & Sunday Closed

In the News

Lifting the fog on Southland's family history
13 March 2017
... Family history is the topic for the third week of Southland Heritage month, with genealogy-themed events running throughout the week.

A first-hand experience of war for Southlanders
24 Febrauary 2017...
Southlanders will soon get a taste of what war was like from the soldiers themselves. More than 300 war letters from four Southland World War I soldiers have been transcribed and digitised for a new public website.
Pieces of history preserved
23 February 2017...PROGRESS has been made on two major projects at the Invercargill Public Library – the Southern Cross newspaper digitisation and transcription of a collection of World War 1 letters
One thousand art works on the move from Anderson House
19 December 2016... Art under lock and key in Anderson House for three years is on the move. The 1000 piece Invercargill Public Art collection is in the hands of Southland's curators, who say the move could take months.
Invercargill pop-up museum attracts nearly 200 visitors in three days
10 March 2016
... Elephant races on Invercargill's Tay St are just one memory on display at a pop-up museum in the city centre this week. The miniature museum has only been open since Monday and attracted nearly 200 visitors through the doors.

Invercargill historic items wanted
4 February 2016
... Archivists are asking people to search through their homes, garages and work places for items to display in a pop-up museum for Inner City Heritage Week.

Frequently Asked Questions

How long have we had an Archive?

The facility began to take shape in 2005 when the ICC purchased the JT Sharp building next to the Library.  Renovations were completed in March 2008 resulting in Southland’s first purpose-built archives facility.  By September 2008 work had begun on the arrangement of the holdings and development of a Southland-wide community archives collection policy.


In May 2014 the Minister of Internal Affairs made our Archive an Approved Repository – one of only a handful in the country.  This means the Chief Archivist of Archives NZ is confident our facility and staff can look after public records on their behalf, such as school records. 

How do I access the archives?

There are two ways to access the collection – in person in the Archive Research Room or through a written/phoned research enquiry. We are still working on getting our Archives Catalogue online but in the meantime you can find a few basic entries on The Community Archives website. We have many more collections than what is listed here so it always pays to ask the Archives staff what else we might have to help you.

Is there a cost to use the archives?

Access to the archives is free of charge in the Archive Research Room. There may be a charge for in-depth written/phone enquiries – please refer to the Lending & Research Fees page of our website or contact Archives staff.

Can I copy an archive?
The method for copying an archive is dependent on its format and fragility. Archives staff will be able to advise you at the time of your copying options. As many of our archives cannot be put on a photocopier we recommend that you bring a camera with you.


Please note that archives do fall under The Copyright Act. While copies may be obtained for private research purposes, it is the responsibility of the researcher to acquire copyright permission to display or publish items still under copyright.

How do I donate items to the Archive?

The easiest way is to contact us to discuss what items you have.  In a nutshell we are looking for unique items such as minute books, photographs and maps from throughout Southland.  Our full Collection Policy is available on our website, as is a copy of our standard Donation Agreement.  Please don’t hesitate to contact us if you have any queries about donating items.

Why don’t you keep everything?

Unfortunately not all items have archival value. To have long-lasting historic value an item needs to have context – that’s the details and circumstances surrounding the item.

The more context an item has the more likelihood it will have long-lasting archival value. It’s the difference between an undated photograph of an unknown group of boys, and a 1920 named photograph of the Waikiwi School Cricket Team.

Can my group take a tour of the facility or have you speak at our meeting?

We’re more than happy to take your group on a tour of our facility or speak at your meeting. Simply contact us to make the arrangements.

Where can I get advice about preserving my personal records at home?

Archives staff are happy to provide you with basic handling and storage advice. For more specialised advice we recommend that you contact a trained conservator. The National Preservation Office also has some wonderful guides on caring for collections available on their website.



Rebecca Clark


Rebecca is our archives go-to gal. Would you believe she’s been here for as long as we’ve had an archive!

When she’s not at work she can be found on the netball court or out on the farm learning to drive her husband’s vintage tractors and traction engines. She likes to think she’s not too bad in the baking department either.