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ArchivesNgā whakaputunga

The Wairoa District Council Archives preserves the documentary history of local government in the Wairoa District of the Hawke’s Bay Region of New Zealand. The archival holdings date from the year 1877, until the current year, and were created and collected by the Wairoa County Council, the Wairoa Borough Council and the present Wairoa District Council.

Records held in the Wairoa District Council Archives include minute books, rate books, correspondence and various registers. The Archives also holds a significant collection of maps dating from the 1865. This collection consists of approximately 15,000 maps; many of which are unique manuscripts.

A Brief History

On 14 November 1983, a report of a meeting held 29 September 1983, to discuss the preservation of the Wairoa District archives, was tabled at a Wairoa County Council meeting. Attendance at this meeting included the Borough Mayor, Mick Barrett, and the County Chairman Cliff Owen. The Town Clerk, Peter Quantick, also reported on a meeting of the steering committee held 4 November 1983. A local resident, Margaret Brownlie, spoke of the historical importance of historical documents, maps and photographs and stressed the need for their preservation. Mrs Robinson, a historian from Gisborne, spoke of the importance of appointing an archivist. It was decided that an authoritative on-going organisation be established and charged with the responsibility for maintaining the archives. Initially, it was decided that a trained archivist should hold a one day seminar for interested people.

By the early 1990s council records remained unsorted and stored in several locations. Access to information proved virtually impossible. As this situation was untenable in 1994 the Chief Executive Officer, Peter Freeman, asked the Records Officer, Nicky Bradley, to undertake an additional role to organise the archival collection. Records were brought together, to form the basis of the Wairoa District Council Archives, and Nicky commenced to physically group similar records together. Box listed were then created to assist in retrieving records.

In October 2010, the council appointed its first qualified archivist, Ross Harrison Snow, who had recently arrived in Wairoa from Melbourne. Work then commenced to physically organise the archival collection into record series and create a series registration system. An accession system was also created to manage unprocessed records. Together, these two processes intellectually control both archival and non-current records.

The County of Wairoa was formed when the Counties Act 1876 abolished the provincial government system and sixty-three counties were created throughout New Zealand. The Archive’s earliest record series, the Wairoa County Council minutes books, date from 4 January 1877 when the inaugural meeting of the council was held in the Wairoa Court House. This series ceased when the Wairoa County Council and the Wairoa Borough Council amalgamated to establish the Wairoa District Council. The final meeting of the County Council occurred 23 September 1986 and the first meeting of the District Council 1 October 1986.

The Borough of Wairoa was constituted in the year 1909, when the Clyde Township was joined to a portion of land from the Wairoa County. As directed by a Government Gazette Notice, dated 23 September 1909, the Wairoa Borough Council first met 25 October 1909, in the Mechanics Institute, in Marine Parade, Wairoa. The final meeting of the Borough Council occurred 29 September 1986, at the Council Chambers in Coronation Square, Wairoa. The preceding Township of Clyde was created a Town District in the year 1883 and subsequently a Clyde Town Board was established. Unfortunately, no records created by the Clyde Town Board have survived.

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Undertaking Research

Access to the Wairoa District Council Archives is by appointment only. Please contact our Archivist, Ross Harrison Snow for further information.


For more information about the Archives, please contact the Wairoa District Council.

+64 6 838 7309


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