Manuscripts and community archives

Manuscripts are the unpublished records of individuals and institutions. Collections of manuscripts originating from the same organisation or individual are sometimes referred to as archives.

Personal and family papers can include diaries, journals, letters, notebooks, typescripts and scrapbooks.

Records of organisations can include minute books, correspondence and ledgers.

Many of Auckland Libraries’ manuscript and archive collections are listed and described on the Community Archive (National Register of Archives and Manuscripts). Community archive indexes from the former Rodney, North Shore and Waitakere Libraries are available on Local History Online.


Sir George Grey Special Collections

The Sir George Grey Special Collections holds significant collections of manuscripts and archives.

Manuscripts Online is the catalogue of the New Zealand Manuscript collection, the smaller non-New Zealand manuscript collection, and the digitised Grey New Zealand letters collection.



The South Auckland Research Centre holds a number of manuscripts and archives of Counties-Manukau origin. These holdings are listed and described on the Community Archive. Inventories for the larger collections are available on request.


Chelsea archives

The Chelsea archives are a collection of records from the Chelsea Sugar refinery (now New Zealand Sugar Company Ltd) dating back to the late 19th century. The Chelsea Sugar Company in its prime was one of the largest companies in the southern hemisphere. The collection includes:

  • Auckland Share Register (1916-)
  • correspondence between Australian (Sydney, Melbourne) and New Zealand branches, 1947-48
  • legal files
  • list of employees (1884-1930)
  • newsletters
  • telegrams
  • wage books.

The collection is not indexed on the catalogue and is reference only. It is housed in a purpose-built room at Birkenhead Library and is for viewing by appointment only. To visit the collection, please contact the Local History Librarian at Birkenhead Library.



New Zealand Sugar Company contacted Records Management Ltd in June 1986, requesting some assistance with the archives stored in the basement in their head office, Fort Street. As the company’s head office was moving to the Chelsea refinery within the month, there was not much time to deal with the large amount of archival material.

The records consist of all the documents that were found in the basement of the Fort Street site, as well as material found at the refinery after the head office moved there. The archives are a collection of records from CSR Limited, Australia (formerly Colonial Sugar Refinery). CSR Australia is the majority shareholder of NZ Sugar.

The collection includes photocopies of correspondence and price lists that were sent from Australia . The originals are held in The Noel Butlin Archives Centre (part of the Australian National University, Archives Programme). 


East Coast Bays Local Archives

The Friends of East Coast Bays Library Local Archives contains a wide variety of materials about the East Coast Bays (From Campbells Bay to Long Bay), including:

  • About 1000 photographs from the 1890s to present. Includes W.J. Ellis and Ian Morris collections.
  • Oral History tapes - about 20 from 1982 to present, with abstracts.
  • Newspaper cuttings files relating to East Coast Bays people, places and events eg. jubilees, 1993-2002. Includes adverts. Searchable by card index.
  • Historical memories, newspaper articles, scrapbooks, ephemera.
  • Long Bay and Rangitoto College magazines 1960s-2002, special edition newspapers and jubilee publications.
  • Early Days in the East Coast Bays - school social studies material with photographs.
  • Fifty Years on the Press
  • East Coast Bays Little Festival of Arts & Crafts 1966-1995 includes committee records, photographs, ephemera.
  • Mairangi Players 1952-2002. History, newsletters, programmes.
  • Torbay Folk Music Society scrapbook 1979-1984
  • Browns Bay Boating Club & Trailer Yacht Squadron club records, newsletters, etc. 1980-1994
  • North Shore Girls' Marching Association records & photographs 1977-1984
  • Friends of East Coast Bays Library Society records, photographs from 1982 to present.

The collection can be accessed by making an appointment with the archivist at East Coast Bays Library. The Community Archive also contains information about this collection.


J.T. Diamond collection

John Thomas (Jack) Diamond M.B.E. extensively researched, documented, collected and wrote about west Auckland history. In 2001 Jack's archive was donated to Waitakere Libraries. The collection primarily covers the timber, brick and pottery industries, the history and archaeology of the Waitakere Ranges and Māori history. It includes original research, published and collected works and photographs. A finding aid as well as reference assistance for the collection is available from the J.T. Diamond Reading Room information desk, Waitakere Central Library.

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