Ngā whakatiki urunga
Some records have "access restrictions", which means you need to get permission if you want to view them. Learn why a record may be restricted, and how to get permission to view it.
Not all records held at Archives are open to view. Some are restricted because of:
Find out if a record is restricted
To check if a record is restricted, find it in Collections search. Information about restrictions is in the Access status field.
Types of access restriction
There are two types of access restriction – preservation and agency.
A preservation restriction means the record is too fragile to be handled. The restriction helps keep the record safe.
An agency restriction means the record may contain information or content that can only be accessed with permission from the agency responsible for the creation of the record.
Restrictions to series of records
Restrictions can be applied to individual records or whole series. If a series is listed as restricted, you may still be able to view some items in it.
Contact us if you're not sure what a restriction statement means.
Get access to a restricted record
The agency that controls access to a restricted record can give you permission to view it. To check which agency controls access:
find the record you want to view in Collections search
check the Access Contact on the record page
To get access to a record with an agency restriction you need:
official written permission from the agency that controls the record, or
evidence that the record isn't subject to the restriction.
Applying for written permission to access a record
If a record is restricted because of its content, access is controlled by the agency who created the record. This type of restriction is decided by the agency when the records are transferred to us. This is called an ‘Access Authority’. We do not set these restrictions.
If you write to an agency to get permission to access a record, it's a good idea to state:
why you're interested in the record
your relationship (if any) to the subject of the record
whether you plan to publish any information you find in the record
whether you need a copy of the record.
Records about people who have died
If the record you want to access is about someone who has died, include evidence of their death. This may address any concerns about their privacy.
Agency response times
The time it takes for agencies to respond to access requests can vary. Let the agency know if you need the records by a certain date.
How to send us your permission
Ask the agency to send your permission to Archives. You can't send us permission yourself – it must come from the agency or it won't be valid.
When we have the permission, we can arrange for you to access the record. We may be able to:
arrange a viewing in a reading room
send you a copy of the record.
We control access to records with preservation restrictions. Contact us if you want to see one of these records. We may be able to let you view:
a digital copy of the record.
View preservation-restricted records online
Many records with preservation restrictions have been digitised, so you can view them online. These include:
coroner's inquests from 1888 - 1938
military service records from World War One
National Film Unit newsreels.
Ask a question about restricted records
Use our Ask an archivist form if you need more information about a restricted record.