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Museum Library

The Auckland War Memorial Museum Library Te Pātaka Mātāpuna is one of the major research libraries in New Zealand.

The library was formed in November 1867 as part of the Auckland Institute, and since then has grown to include some outstanding collections relating in particular to Auckland, New Zealand and the South Pacific.

Amongst these collections are important rare books, manuscripts and archives as well as maps, charts and plans. The collections also include periodicals, newspapers, ephemera and oral history. There is also a bookplate (ex libris) collection of exceptional range and quality.

The focus of the collections includes:

  • Māori language, whakapapa and history
  • Auckland social history
  • Natural history
  • New Zealand military history
  • Archaeology
  • Ethnology
  • Museum studies
  • The applied arts
  • Exploration and discovery

Search Collections Online


The Library Reading Room, which is on the top floor of the Museum, is open to all visitors, Monday – Saturday: 10am – 5pm. We welcome your enquiries

Please note the Library is closed on Sundays and public holidays (except ANZAC Day). 

Access to special collections

We're changing the way we manage the delivery of special-collections material — i.e., manuscripts, photographs, rare books, and other archival items — for consultation in our Reading Room. 

Material is retrieved on the following schedule: 

Orders made between... ...will be fulfilled at...
10.00am – 10.30am 10.45am
10.30am – 12.15pm 12.30pm
12.15pm – 1.45pm 2.00pm
1.45pm – 3.15pm 3.30pm

Requests made after 3.15pm will be fulfilled at 10am the next working day. 

Please note that access restrictions already in place on certain items — as noted on collection records — will continue to apply, and that some items cannot be retrieved and must be viewed digitally. 

Requests for large-format items and requests for significant volumes of material in a single order may take longer to be fulfilled. 

Book your research visit 

Please do a preliminary search on Collections Online for the material you wish to order, then book a time to visit using our contact form — choose “Documentary Heritage,” then “Research.” 

To maximise the use of your time, at least one working day’s advance notice is appreciated; this allows us to provide a more efficient service to meet your needs. Please read our Guidelines for Access to Documentary Heritage before you visit.

Reading Room collection and Image Orders 

Our Reading Room collection, which includes newly released books and current serials, remains freely browseable, and our Image Order service is unaffected by the above. 

This new access schedule is a three-month trial; we welcome your feedback.